Tyler Holman graduated from Webster University in May 2012 with a degree in political science. Now, he works as the political director for Republican Dave Spence’s campaign for governor. Holman works directly below the campaign manager and alongside the deputy campaign manager.
You took a semester off from school. Why?
(In) January of 2010, I had a great opportunity to work for a guy named Tom Schweich, who had never run for office before but was very, very qualified for the office, which was state auditor. … I
took a year off from school to pursue a passion I wanted to explore. I’m very fortunate I took the time. I’m glad Webster was very flexible with me. I was able to actually get some school credit while I was on the campaign. When he won the election in November, he started to transition into office. He took office in January (2011), and I went back and finished class.
How did you get involved in the Dave Spence campaign?
What happened was after the Schweich campaign, I went and helped out with a political consultant in town. When you work in politics, your name gets out there. The fact that Tom was successful and I was part of a winning team made me someone folks may look at for future campaigns. I feel very fortunate about the fact that I was able to go from the state auditors race to finishing college and now be working on a gubernatorial race.
What’s any given day like working a campaign?
A lot of it is grassroots-based and making sure that you’re identifying your supporters on the ground. But on any given day, I could be working on a policy position, giving my opinions on new radio or TV ads that have been shot. It’s kind of exciting because every day you’re almost in a new job, and you never know what’s going to come up.
What got you involved in politics?
I was born in Jackson, Mo. It’s where I was raised and grew up until I moved to what (my parents) consider the big city of St. Louis. Both of my parents are deaf. Them being disabled, (the law) Americans with Disabilities Act directly affects them, so at a young age I was able to realize ways that the government can be very helpful for citizens and ways that government may overstep its bounds. I think that exposure at a young age got me excited. … I volunteered on a bunch of campaigns when I was younger — mayoral races in my hometown, school board races. One of my favorite teachers ran for school board while I was his student, so I was able to follow his race and knock on doors for him and make phone calls. I think that’s what got me directly involved.
Why do you believe Dave Spence is the best candidate for governor?
Right now, Missouri has a huge problem with its economy. Every one of our neighboring states are growing faster than us. Dave has not held public office before. Instead, he’s been running his own business, so he knows how to grow jobs on a state level. He has companies all around the country, so he understands what makes a state competitive to bring in new business. Right now, Missouri is not competitive at all.
Another thing about the incumbent governor — Jay Nixon — in particular, is I don’t think that he’s very supportive of college students. I say that because in his first three years in office, he cut the higher education budget by millions of dollars.
What was it like being a Republican at Webster?
I think going to Webster University actually made me a stronger Republican, because if I wanted to expound my views in class, I had to be prepared to defend them. It allowed me an opportunity to get into what I think are very healthy debates with class members and some of my professors, because a good liberal arts school allows all ideas. … Sometimes being a Republican at Webster was a very difficult thing.
If Spence wins, then what happens for you?
I hope to go with him to Jefferson City and be able to put in place some of the policies that he’s been getting support for all around the state. I hope that I can go with him to Jefferson City and finally have a governor that’s not trying to cut millions of dollars from higher education every year.