Linda Paul spends semester working on grandfather’s presidential campaign
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07
Working closely on the campaign trail with a presidential candidate is an opportunity many would relish but few ever get to experience. Still fewer can call a presidential hopeful “grandpa.” The exception would be Linda Paul, junior biomedical sciences major and granddaughter of Congressman Ron Paul.
This semester, Linda has crisscrossed the country with her grandfather contributing to the campaign effort. She is still considered to be a student — enrolled in three hours of online courses to retain her student status — but for all practical purposes, she has taken the semester off. Linda said she didn’t even consider an academic hiatus until a family member made the suggestion during winter break.
“I was scheduled to graduate a semester early and am still unsure what I want to do after college,” Linda said. “So when the idea was brought up … I thought, why rush to graduate? Instead, I can take this chance of a lifetime and spend time with my grandparents.”
Linda spoke with the Ron Paul campaign chair to express interest in joining the campaign effort and began working almost immediately. She came to campus the first week of classes to settle affairs with her class schedule and to let her friends know about her plans, then rejoined her grandfather.
Moira Skea, junior finance major and Linda’s roommate, said she was initially “shocked” by Linda’s decision.
“I guess it is something I would expect from her. She’s smart and usually so successful at anything she attempts. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” Skea said. “Not everybody’s family member has a legitimate run for president.”
On the campaign trail, Linda acts as an extra pair of hands, the liaison for any other family members who tour with the candidate, and completes any other tasks to keep things running smoothly. Working the campaign is something Linda said she not only enjoys, but believes in.
“To me, he is simply my grandfather. But after traveling with him, seeing him speak in front of crowds that number in the thousands, as well as the enthusiasm and dedication of people everywhere we go, well, to others he is this man who stands for things they believe in so fervently,” Linda said. “It has been an incredible experience.”
Linda has stayed connected with the A&M campus by making monthly return visits. Alayne Andrie, junior finance major and one of Linda’s best friends, has enjoyed hearing Linda’s the tales from the trail.
“It’s just amazing what insights this experience has brought her. We’re both so interested in politics and thrive off these things,” Andrie said. “It’s great to hear from her exactly what a presidential campaign is like and see how the media portrays things. In that way, it’s strengthened our friendship, and because she comes into town whenever she’s in Texas, it’s like she’s still here.”
Linda’s interest in politics began early in life, fostered by her grandfather’s speeches and events. She connects with his platforms as well as with the message delivered by his stances and political record.
“He’s been saying the same thing, not only for my life, but for the past 30 years. And that’s not common for politicians,” Linda said. “He educated himself and formed this philosophy, and I am proud for his commitment to the message and for never compromising on his position for political gain.”
Linda wouldn’t rule out a future in politics, but has no definite plans to pursue a career in policy anytime soon. While she has enjoyed her time with the Paul campaign, she leans on the advice her grandfather gives to anyone interested in politics as a career.
“He advises against [getting into politics] straightaway, and to instead first get an education, then a job, and then, if you feel the need to change something in government, get involved,” Linda said.
Linda returns to College Station once more this week, as the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Committee introduces the politician to campus Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Rudder Auditorium. The candidate will speak at the event.
Linda plans to continue to work for the campaign during the summer and return as a full-time student in the fall. When her time with the campaign ends, she does not see her interest in the process wavering.
“With my family, I’ll always be involved in politics,” Linda said, “in one way or another.”