Samantha Rozzell is anything but your typical cookie-cutter Republican. Born and raised in a house full of Democrats, Samantha, being the independent freethinker that she is, found her inner conservative through her faith and personal research. Over the past few years she has become more politically active in Virginia politics- she has interned with Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-02) and helped in the Romney-Ryan campaign. Samantha is currently a senior at Old Dominion University double majoring in Political Science and History and is a part of the Core Four on Red Millennial.
Julia Porterfield: How did you first get interested in politics?
Samantha Rozzell: To make a very long story short, I changed my minor to political science in college and decided to do an internship because I was thinking graduation was coming up and there is nothing on my resume. I interned with Scott Rigell for Congress and LOVED it. I changed my minor to a second major the first week of the internship. That got me involved with the congressional campaign and the Virginia statewide campaign with Romney-Ryan.
JP: You were raised by and live with mostly Democrats. How has that affected your views and your decision to be a Republican?
SR: My grandmother took me to Catholic service every day since I was born including CCD (Catholic Sunday school). I became conservative through my teachings at the church. That just followed me over into politics. I was raised by my military grandfather that taught me no matter who the president was he is still your Commander and Chief. That is a motto I always live by. No matter who the President is, I still respect him. My family has always taught me to be open-minded and figure out my own views. I just researched. My parents support me 100% even though my mom sometimes wonders how I turned out so different from her politically.
JP: You’re almost done earning your bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. What would you like to do post-graduation?
SR: I am really hoping to work for Scott Rigell again. I really enjoyed working with his staff this past election cycle and the experiences I gained from it. He will be campaigning again once I get out of school and it would be a dream come true for that to be my first big kid job.
JP: What social issues interest you the most?
SR: Well, abortion is always a social issue I wish I could change. But that’s hard to do with the moderate society we have today. When I was in youth group as a teenager, my youth leader did a really powerful presentation. She set up all these extra chairs this particular meeting and none of us knew why. When she started to talk about abortion she mentioned the chairs and how those were the kids that were supposed to be there with us, but instead were aborted. That really hit home for me.
JP: What do you believe is the biggest problem facing America today?
SR: For me, I would have to say students loans. I am about to graduate from college, and I am scared to my wits in that I will not be able to start paying these back when I need to. I also believe that the national debt is a HUGE issue. I don’t want to have to make the sacrifices later in life to fix this problem or make my children fix it.
JP: Who is the biggest influence on your political views and why?
SR: Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-02) is who I look up to the most. It was a blessing to work with a man that is conservative, but has such a democratic following. A freshmen congressmen that is not afraid to stand up to the big guys. A man that knows achieving the moderate vote is the answer to winning elections. Just because you are considered Republican or Democrat doesn’t mean you have to be one sided. Bipartisanship is not something he just talks about to look good and get the votes- Congressman Rigell portrays it in everything he does. He is also really good at playing the drums…. I’ve tried for years and can’t master it like him.
JP: The CRNC recently released their report on how to get more millennials on the Republicans “side.” What do you think the GOP can do to succeed in this goal?
SR: The Republican Party has to come out the “old white man” phase and start looking at our generation. We have a lot of things to offer on the plate. No offense to the “old White man” but it isn’t going to be your party forever; you have to give the reins up at some point. I think the GOP needS to become more advanced in technology and try different ways to approach younger generations. Hire some younger ones to help the party out. Wink wink.
JP: The 2010 midterm elections were very big for the Tea party and the GOP as a whole. Next year’s midterm elections could determine the outcome of Obama’s second term. What do you think will happen?
SR: I really think the moderates and some democrats are seeing the harm that Obama has done on the start of his second term. I really want to see some new faces get in there and win some seats. Keep our House of Representatives Red. I think Obama has hurt himself with all the scandals and people are finally seeing he isn’t doing much good.
JP: I know 2016 is three years away, but it’ll be here before we know it. Any predictions for either party?
SR: I think the Republican Party is going to come out with a bang. We have recovered from our sad loss in 2012. We have some great faces coming into the spotlight like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul. I think each of these candidates offer some great ideas to enhance the party and bring a new light to it. I can’t wait to see what happens. As for the Democratic Party, it’s hard to tell. No one has really come out yet because the focus is still on Obama. Hilary would be dumb to run, the end of her term as Secretary of State was a fail. I can’t think of any others that have potential right now.
JP: You’ve been following scandalpalooza pretty closely. Do you think it will hurt the Obama administration?
SR: I really thought Benghazi would have hurt the administration harder, but yet it hasn’t. I really hope these scandals do something, but it seems like Obama still has so many people in his corner. Every time something happens, there is a way he finds to hide it or make it sounds less worse than it really is.
JP: One thing that’s very evident at the moment with the GOP is the lack of involvement with younger generations. Would you ever consider running for office?
SR: I could never run for office. I am way too blunt. People wouldn’t like me. I know many young people that would be amazing at running for office one day. I will back them 100% and make sure they make a difference.
JP: Why is it important for people to care about politics and world news?
SR: It is SO important to know about politics and world news because if you don’t know then you can have no opinion. This country lets everyone have a say on how it is run and where it goes in the future. I lose respect for people that don’t take the time to know what is going on with their government. It is a very important thing to know. People won’t realize rights are being taken away or being treated unfairly unless they follow what is going on.
JP: Who is your favorite President?
SR: That is a really tough question. I know he is Democratic, but I love President Kennedy. For the short amount of time he was in office, he took a stand on the Civil Rights Movement, he focused on getting schools desegregated, and enforcing the Brown v. Board decision that many southern states were not following. While he had a down fall with the Cuban Missile Crisis, he came back from that and showed the American people they could trust him. And of course because he was Catholic 🙂