|Student in thick of governor's race
RELEASED: Aug. 14, 2003
DANVILLE, KYHow did you first become aware of America's political process?
For some, that may not be an easy question to answer. But for Jonathan Samford, a rising senior at Centre College, it's not too difficult.
As a 5th-grader from Mount Sterling, Ky., Samford met Dan Quayle, the former vice president, at the Lexington, Ky., airport. Quayle was in Kentucky campaigning during former President George Bush's re-election campaign in 1992.
"It was an awesome experience," Samford said. "The pomp and circumstance that surrounded the event was cool to me. But it also led me to wonder why all the fuss. So I began to think more about politicians and what they do." Samford and politics have gone hand-in-hand since that day in Lexington.
This summer Samford is a part-time volunteer with Ernie Fletcher's campaign for governor. His duties run the gamut from making phone calls to voters and passing out flyers, to assisting at fundraisers (one was attended by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of President George W. Bush), and helping with the organization of a political rally at Fancy Farm, Ky.
But the best part, Samford said, is getting out of the office and meeting with voters.
"I love talking to people from all across the state," he said. "It's been a great learning experience, but also a lot of fun."
Fletcher, the Republican candidate, is in a heated raced with Democratic nominee Ben Chandler to take control in Frankfort. The general election will be held Nov. 4.
Samford, an economics major who is minoring in government, had plenty of experience going into the summer. He's volunteered with several of Fletcher's congressional campaigns, Republican Larry Forgy's 1996 gubernatorial campaign, and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign. Last summer he was the campaign manager for State Rep. Danny Ford (R-House District 80) in Ford's landslide re-election victory.
This past academic year Samford served as state chair for the Kentucky College Republicans.
Samford plans to attend law school upon graduation and says a career in politics could be in the works.
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