Grassroots efforts. Volunteer organization. Outreach. Those are some of the key skills Ashley Walukevich employs in her work for Senator Susan Collins, all of which started back when she was a freshman political science major at Saint Joseph’s. And she’s far from stopping now.
Take us through what you do at Senator Susan Collin’s Biddeford office.
I assist her constituents in regards to casework consisting of questions, comments, or concerns they may have with federal issues and agencies. Some examples of the casework include Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits, military service questions, immigration issues, etc. In addition, I also do outreach in the greater York County area, attending various events and meetings on behalf of the senator. It is a great honor to work hard for someone you believe in.
Was this your first venture into politics?
After I graduated from Saint Joseph’s in 2012, I worked as a field director for the Romney-Ryan campaign in Boca Raton, Florida. I managed the daily office operations in one of the Romney Victory Offices. My tasks included budgeting, scheduling volunteers for grassroots efforts, and performing outreach events in my area.
As a field director, I recruited, managed, and maintained an infrastructure of 10 interns and over 700 volunteers to execute a successful voter contact strategy within my region of Palm Beach County. I built the grassroots organization within my selected area to personally contact voters through canvassing, phone banking, and hosting and attending local events. I assisted in various events at my office as well as at offsite locations. Some of these events included Senator John McCain, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, RNC Co-chairman Sharon Day, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, and Governor Romney’s wife, Ann. I also assisted in the volunteer coordination for the final presidential debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama at Lynn University. I was able to be onsite at the debate assisting in managing the volunteer efforts.
Working on a campaign is a lot of work, but it is something I greatly enjoy doing. It was a great opportunity and an amazing experience to work for Governor Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan.
Did you prep yourself for this line of work?
I interned at Senator Susan Collins’ office all four years of my college career. This internship gave me a firsthand experience with politics, allowing me to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world situations. It was foundational in my career after college. It allowed me to network and generate lasting relationships. It was a great opportunity to learn how a United States Senate office functions, the role of Senate employees, and how the Senator’s Constituent Service Centers, like the Portland office, can help constituents. The internship was a building block in my career that helped me attain the current position I have today in the Senator’s Biddeford office.
Did the College provide opportunities to gain world-real experience, which inform you to this day?
I had an opportunity to go to the United Nations in New York City, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. We were able to meet with ambassadors, Foreign Service officers, and even briefly attend the Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Also, I was the Political Science Club president. We worked to raise money to travel to Washington, D.C., with the help of SGA. Senator Collins’ office organized various tours throughout D.C. for our club, and we were able to tour much of the city. These experiences brought my education full circle and would not have been possible without the support of the Saint Joseph’s community. There are many opportunities, you just can’t be afraid to take them.