I find myself deeply saddened by the loss of Senator McCain this past week but incredibly thankful that I had the privilege to work with the Senator during his re-election campaign back in 2016. It was my first ever encounter in the political sphere and it left a powerful impact on my life to this day.
I'll be honest, the campaign experience itself was tough. HARD work went into making this campaign successful and I learned SO much through it all. I was truly given a behind the scenes look at the operations and outreach efforts that are crucial to grassroots campaigning on both a local and national scale.
BUT I found that what I gained from this experience was even more valuable. I gained an immense respect and admiration not only for the campaign/election process but even more so for Senator McCain's leadership, character, and integrity. In honor of McCain's impact in my own life, I wrote a few reasons why I admire his leadership so much. Here's to you, Senator.
Reason #1: People as individuals mattered to him. He was the person who would come by the office often just to look each and every person in the eye, learn their name, shake their hand, and thank them for their time on the campaign.
Reason #2: He had the most grateful and thankful heart. I remember getting a direct call from him from his office in D.C. just to say thank you for helping campaign at a local event in Phoenix. It was the neatest thing that he took the time to give a shout to me when he literally had hundreds of other people he could have been calling.
Reason #3: He was funny and full of energy. In an office full of college students, he was the person in the room with the most energy. I don't know how he did it. He also was always cracking jokes. As I spent more time with him at different events I realized that he had his go-to joke about Kim Kardashian tweeting him online once.
Reason #4: He was passionate about young people and their involvement in politics. The majority of the volunteers, interns, and staff on his campaign were in in their late 20's or younger. He was always expressing how he believed that pouring into the next generation was crucial as we were the future leaders. He also was a big fan of sports and we often saw him at the GCU basketball games supporting the 'Lopes and hanging out with the students.
Reason #5: He was full of love for God, his wife, and his family. He was a man of God and family first. He was always talking about the importance of faith and family. He took family days often and I found it so admirable that even though he had all kinds of success and fame, he was the happiest when he was with his wife, Cindy and his children.
Reason #6: He brought people together. I could list so many more reasons why I admire John's leadership but I'll end on this. As divisive as politics are, Senator McCain found unique ways to "reach across the aisle" and befriend even those he disagreed with passionately. He believed in working together with others, whoever they were, for something bigger than any one person. Watching his memorial services this week was a reminder and testament to that even more. Even in his passing, he still unites people regardless of their background, beliefs, party affiliation, demographic, etc. His life and legacy had a profound impact on this country and the citizens of it.
What an honor it was. You will be missed, Senator McCain.