The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Valley

February 12, 2013

Press assistant offers peak into the Republican National Committee

LEWISBURG — Persistence and a passion for conservative politics has paid off for former Lewisburg High School graduate Johanna Persing, 24. At Monday night’s meeting of the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives, she explained how she worked her way into a prestigious job in the press office at the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C.

Persing, who aspires to a career in politics, enthralled the audience of 55 people at the Best Western Country Cupboard Inn, with her story of moving to Washington with no job. “I didn’t know if I could make it,” she said. “But I knocked on a lot of doors.” She had majored in politics at Gettysburg College, participating in the school’s Eisenhower Institute’s Inside Politics program, and by networking landed an internship at the RNC.

“Now,” she said, “I write press releases and will be playing a significant role in the RNC’s efforts to attract young people to our party through communicating on Facebook and Twitter.”

A lively question-and-answer period followed her opening remarks, with most of the audience eager to understand not just the inner workings of the RNC, but how to grow the conservative vote in future presidential elections.

“I believe we have a good message of freedom, liberty and equality,” she said. “Somehow, we have better be able to communicate it to the masses, and that’s the job of the department I work in.”

Persing admitted that when it came to online messaging and soliciting, “Obama team had us beat by a landslide. We have to do better at that.”

She talked about her work at the Tampa Republican convention. “It was a once in a lifetime experience, working with the Romney team. And then when we finished in Tampa, we immediately set up a war room at the Democratic convention in Charlotte to counter all the ‘garbage’ Nancy Pelosi threw at us.”

Persing revealed that the RNC had what she called an “Obama book, which had everything he’s every said, I think. And we’re getting better at utilizing the new media; we have some pretty amazing and creative people at the RNC, so that when Joe Biden, for example, says something silly, we take the video clip and post it on YouTube immediately.”

She also admitted that, in her opinion, there is somewhat of a split in the party at the moment, between tea party members and the more moderate wing. “But it can be mended. I believe the establishment group can and will welcome in the tea party.”

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