The West Wing of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College was filled with students gathered to hear from alumna and former Republican congressional candidate in CD-1, Karoline Leavitt.
Leavitt credited her success to the time she spent at Saint Anselm College. “I would not be standing here talking to you as your speaker, I would not have worked at the White House, I would not have worked on Capitol Hill, I would not have run for Congress and won my primary if it had not been for attending Saint A’s,” said Leavitt.
A former Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador herself, Leavitt advised current ambassadors to take advantage of the connections available at NHIOP, “Each individual opportunity led me to a person that then led me to the next big opportunity.”
Leavitt spoke about the opportunities that she had both during and after her time at Saint Anselm College which included interning for WMUR News 9 as a news assistant, being assigned to Fox News on campus during the 2016 presidential primary, and later working for NBC Sports Boston.
A conversation with a fellow classmate at the college was what led her to her internship at the White House under President Trump. She was then promoted to Assistant Press Secretary working under Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
After the 2020 election, Leavitt moved to Capitol Hill to work as the Communications Director for Congresswoman Elise Stefaink and left that position when “The idea to run for Congress myself hit me,” Leavitt stated.
She returned to New Hampshire and led her campaign for Congress, an election she lost to incumbent Congressman Chris Pappas.
When taking questions from student attendees, Leavitt focused on the lessons learned from her campaign and eventual loss. “There are a lot of establishments on both sides of the aisle that are very powerful and it’s very hard to combat those forces, and that really changed my perspective on the entire political world,” said Leavitt.
Responding to a student question about what it was like running for Congress as a young woman, Leavitt remarked, “We are scrutinized in a different light.”
Leavitt then brought up a campaign ad that was run on television against her by her opposition. Recounting the moment she found out about the ad, she said she remembered thinking, “We could apologize here or I could go out on that WMUR debate stage and I could go, ‘I did go to college and I did have fun, and I am qualified to serve in the United States Congress’.”
She went on to discuss how some of her fellow congressional candidates, “Did not even look at me or say hello to me. They literally pretended I did not exist.” She shared that what she learned from that situation was to, “Use people’s underestimation of you as your motivation.”
At the end of the event, Leavitt left the students with the following advice: “We are all unique individuals. We are here for, as I like to say, such a time as this, it’s just about finding it. If you are constantly searching for the approval of others, you will be on your deathbed searching for happiness.”
She concluded with a group photo and handed each attendee her business card which she encouraged them to use in the future. Leavitt featured the group photo on social media, comparing it to a 2015 photo of herself, listening to John Kasich when she was a student ambassador.