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Hill Climbers: For Orlando Watson, Timing on Hill Was Elementary

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Watson, Gosarís press secretary, said of working on the Hill, ĒItís fun; itís young.Ē

Capitol Hill was never in Orlando Watsonís plan. Convinced that the private sector creates more value for society and that politics was becoming too divisive, the new press secretary for Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., decided to major in public policy at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

But in 2008, on the advice of his college professors, Watson began to take a good look at presidential candidates across the political spectrum ó and thatís when then-Rep. Ron Paul caught his eye.

ďThe more I learned about Dr. Ron Paul, the more I became ... sort of reinvigorated,Ē Watson said.

It was two years later, when he graduated, that Watson jumped at the opportunity to work on the Senate race of Paulís son, Rand Paul. The Kentucky Republicanís campaign was the first for which Watson had ever worked.

And timing was everything.

ďIf I had graduated a year earlier or two years earlier, or a year later, I probably would be doing consulting work like the rest of my miserable friends,Ē Watson joked.

During the campaign, there was no task that Watson wasnít tapped for. He traveled with Rand Paul, dealt with press inquiries, handled media booking, videotaped events and helped out with advance work for fundraisers and campaign events. At one point, he was even the candidateís driver.

His work and adaptability paid off, earning him a job as a press assistant on Paulís Capitol Hill staff after the senator was elected.

Watson, 24, credits his success to four things: ďambition, hard work, timing and opportunity.Ē

Having moved from New York to Virginia when he was 16, the move to Washington, D.C., itself wasnít a difficult transition ó but the move to Capitol Hill was all new.

ďItís fun; itís young,Ē Watson said of working on the Hill. ďThe Capitol grounds is like a big campus ó so it definitely reminds me of college.Ē

But the slower pace of work on the Hill, compared with the action-packed campaign, took some getting used to. A lesser frustration was learning to navigate the Capitol complex.

ďIíve got an awful sense of direction. My navigational skills arenít good ... so I would get lost all the time,Ē Watson said.

It wasnít long before Watson earned a promotion to deputy press secretary in Paulís office.

It was around the same time that Watsonís business drive caught up with him ó resulting in the creation of his own hyperlocal news aggregation website for the Washington metro area, DCBulletin.com.

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