The Public Interest

Political pros

Alan Ehrenhalt

Fall 1994

A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD sat in the visitors” gallery, listened to a legislative debate, and vowed to himself that he would return one day as a member. Three years later, he was working his neighborhood door-to-door as a political activist. “He displayed,” it is reported, “a taste for the slog-work” and “a tireless enthusiasm for canvassing,” which he was happy to do “on the filthiest winter evenings.” He launched a campaign for local office within months of his twenty-first birthday; he captured the legislative seat he had been seeking a few years later. Soon, he was on his way to the top of the leadership ladder.

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