Student InsiderGAMBIER, Ohio (September 17, 2012)
Matthew Metz '13 of Charlotte, Vermont, a former intern in the Obama White House, recently returned from the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where he was a delegate from Vermont. Matthew was interviewed by Joumana Khatib '13 of Upper Arlington, Ohio, who is a student writer in the Office of Public Affairs.
Khatib: Tell me about your responsibilities as a delegate.
Metz: My official responsibility was to cast one of Vermont's twenty-seven votes at the Democratic National Convention in support of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to officially re-nominate them.
Khatib: What was a typical day like at the Convention?
Metz: There really wasn't one. One morning I attended a breakfast sponsored by Sen. (Patrick) Leahy (Vermont) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio). Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) and (former Vermont governor) Howard Dean joined us. I was one of 248 student delegates, so it was great to connect with other students. I heard some campaign briefings with (White House deputy chief of staff) Jim Messina, which was amazing, and went to a party that President Bill Clinton attended. It was an opportunity for people who are very involved in politics to get together and have a good time, but also talk about what we're doing, what is and isn't working, what we need to refine, and how to go forward. It was a great chance to bounce ideas off of each other and see where we all are.
Metz: The (2008) Obama campaign was when my interest in politics really began. It was my first presidential vote, which was unbelievable. I made campaign calls for Obama at the tail end of the 2008 election cycle and worked for the campaign again when I interned at the DNC (Democratic National Committee). (The DNC) assigned me to the Obama for America department and I was given half of Ward 3 of the District of Columbia to organize by myself. I worked 16-hour days, six or seven days a week, and built up a volunteer team there-much like I'm doing at Kenyon now.
I applied for an internship in the White House for the summer of 2012 and was accepted into the Office of Management and Administration. They do a lot of behind-the-scenes work-their job is to see that everything runs smoothly. They schedule conferences and ensure that everyone has access to resources they need.
Khatib: What about Kenyon motivated you to get involved with the Obama campaign?
Metz: Many of the people I work with in the Knox County Democratic Party are a presence on campus, like (Knox County Democratic Party Chairman) Adam Gilson. They really help put a face to some of the issues at play here. I also received a lot of encouragement from professors-I'm convinced that I wouldn't have had any of these experiences without their support. Professor (Pamela) Camerra-Rowe, Professor (John) Elliott, and Professor (David) Leibowitz in the political science department were all invaluable.