V&V Q&A – Managing a high-profile congressional campaign: An interview with Carrie Brown

Editor’s note: The “V&V Q&A” is an e-publication from The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. In this latest edition, Lee Wishing, the administrative director of The Center for Vision & Values, interviews Carrie Brown, a Grove City College graduate and former Center for Vision & Values student fellow. Brown is managing one of the nation’s hottest congressional campaigns (Republican Bryan Smith v. incumbent Mike Simpson, both vying for one of Idaho’s two congressional seats). Politico calls it “ground zero for the GOP proxy fight” while NPR says it’s a “bellwether” contest.

Wishing: Carrie, you’re not even three years out of college and you’re managing a high-profile congressional campaign. How did you get to this place so fast?

Brown: I have been blessed with the opportunities that I have had since graduating from Grove City College. I got my first job on a campaign after getting a recommendation from The Center for Vision & Values. I worked on a U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania. After that, I worked on another U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania that got me where I am in Idaho, managing one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the 2014 election cycle. But what has really gotten me to where I am is hard work and making the most of every opportunity. The work ethic that I cultivated during my time at Grove City and the Center really helped me to stand out among others in my field. I would not say I always had the resume of individuals that I was up against for a position on a campaign, but no one was ever going to outwork me. My time at the Center greatly prepared me to work in politics, especially on the campaign side. I saw how critical it is to get good conservatives elected to Congress. It is not a lack of good policy, but a lack of true conservative leadership we are missing in Congress. I am thankful that during this election cycle I am at the heart of the national conversation on molding the need for conservative principles in Washington.

Wishing: Tell us your story about how you got to Grove City College. You transferred in and gave up a full-ride, right?

Brown: I transferred to Grove City College after giving up a full-ride to play field hockey at a Division I university in New York. I knew after a few months in New York that I was not where I wanted to be. I realized that I wanted to be in an environment that was centered on my Christian faith while also challenging me academically. I didn’t know before I came to Grove City that I would be entering into a Christian community that would push me as a student, individual, and shape my future in such a drastic way. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today if I did not attend Grove City College.

Wishing: What advice do you have for college students as they look to the future?

Brown: My advice is very simple: work hard, take advantage of every opportunity, and never think that you have learned enough. I have traveled across the country and everyone has told me what sets Grove City College graduates apart from everyone else is our work ethic. You never know what opportunities are going to come up in life, but I think it is important to make the most of every single one. You will be surprised as you go forward in your career and look back at the different directions it took because you were not scared to take a chance on a job, move to a new state, or take a pay cut on the chance of working with that one person or that one company. The best advice I have received was someone telling me that I am never too old to learn. You will meet many different people in your career. Always take advantage of learning from people that have a different perspective than you. As conservatives, our argument only gets stronger when we can defend it against opposing views.

Wishing: What do you hope to be doing five years from now?

Brown: I hope to still love my job. I can honestly say I look forward to waking up every morning and going to work. Each day is different, faced with different challenges, people and opportunities. As for my career aspirations, I think I will still be working on campaigns for the next five years. I have my whole life to settle down into a consulting firm or another job. Right now, I am enjoying the people I am meeting, the competition, the long hours and the feeling that I am making a difference in our nation’s future.

Wishing: We always got a kick out of your feisty competitive streak, Carrie. You never really put down that field hockey stick. What do you need to do to win this campaign?

Brown: We need to keep doing what we are doing. We are working hard every day raising money, meeting the people of our district, and educating people about our opponent’s voting record. My goal is to not say on May 21, 2014 that we did not work hard enough.

Wishing: Thanks for your time, Carrie!