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Andy Flick got his political start on the campaign trail.
But unlike most Capitol Hill staffers with campaign experience on their résumés, he wasn’t getting paid or logging intern hours. He was simply a kid following a friend’s father around the neighborhood.
Flick was 10 when his best friend’s dad, Greg Jolivette (R), ran for mayor of Hamilton, Ohio. The candidate and his young volunteer went door to door talking to local residents and handing out fliers. When Jolivette won, he invited Flick to the swearing-in ceremony.
“He recognized me and my friend standing in the back, and we thought we were the coolest people ever,” Flick said. “I think that’s when I caught the bug.”
Jolivette may have influenced Flick more than he could have imagined. Flick, now 24, recently was hired as press secretary and legislative assistant for Rep. Jim Costa. But his post with the California Democrat isn’t his first gig in government.
During his senior year of high school, Flick interned for the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Even though he just helped with data entry and voter registration for his county, the experience inspired Flick to leave his small hometown of Hamilton and pursue a political science degree at Washington University. He also earned a degree in Spanish after studying in Spain for a semester.
While abroad, Flick interned for the U.S. Embassy’s public affairs office in Madrid, where he organized teleconferences between journalists and academics, shadowed the public affairs officer during his weekly interviews at a local television station and analyzed media coverage of the U.S. in Spanish media.
“Living with a host family, I was completely immersed in Spanish culture — home-cooked paella every Sunday, cheering for Real Madrid when they won the Eurocup and late nights out on the town,” Flick said. “But working in the embassy offered me a unique American community in the heart of Madrid.”
After he graduated in 2009, Flick helped lead a group of high school students on two three-week service trips in Costa Rica.
When he returned from his adventures, an internship awaited him in Washington, D.C., where Flick always wanted to work. He interned in the office of then-Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) for several months before he was hired as deputy press secretary. Flick said he essentially created the role for himself after he urged Skelton to increase his social-media presence.
“We had a 78-year-old guy with a Twitter, and by the end, he had a 1,000 followers,” Flick said. “We were really pumped about that.”