A self-proclaimed moderate who is passionate about politics and crunching numbers, Allison Beeman ’13 is an intern—or as some affectionately call it, a “Kingtern”—for Governor Angus King’s senate campaign.
After King announced his candidacy at Bowdoin in March, Beeman, a government and legal studies major and economics minor, did some research on the former governor of Maine and identified with his frustration with the political gridlock in Washington.
“I just e-mailed him at his Bowdoin e-mail address and told him that I was really inspired that there was someone who not only agreed with my political views, but also had a strong record and name recognition that made it actually possible he could win and go to Washington,” said Beeman. “He immediately put me in touch with people in the office.”
Beeman started interning at King’s campaign headquarters in Brunswick over the summer and worked closely with the campaign’s finance team.
She wrote briefs on the national debt, gathered information on campaign donors, and analyzed Federal Election Committee reports.
As part of the campaign’s policy team, Beeman researched and wrote summaries about issues or interest groups. She was often given questionnaires from groups like the National Education Association and the US Postal Service and tasked with helping the team figure out how King should address their concerns.
“I had to research questionnaires from the National Rifle Association and Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence; it was interesting to see different perspectives on the same issues,” said Beeman.
Throughout the semester, Beeman has continued to go into campaign headquarters, located at 135 Maine Street, to help with daily tasks.
“It’s the thick of the election season so they’re making a ton of phone calls right now,” said Beeman.
“I’ve tried to help out whenever I can, but it’s also the thick of the academic semester. I wish I could put more time into it.”
King’s hectic schedule has had him traveling around the state, but Beeman was pleased to find that he visited the Brunswick headquarters frequently. She even had the chance to work directly with King, providing feedback on a new advertisement and supporting him in the field.
“He’s very friendly. He would come up to interns and ask how we were doing or what we were working on,” said Beeman. “If he had an event or parade, sometimes we got to go with him and show our support for the campaign.”
Beeman described the office atmosphere in one word: positive. With 25 employees and 30 interns working in Brunswick this summer, the office was always busy, yet welcoming.
Beeman was not alone among employees in her admiration of King.
“Everyone was very enthusiastic about what they were doing and was wholeheartedly behind him,” said Beeman. “Angus was very adamant about not being negative about other candidates, and that type of positivity was really reflected in the dynamic of the headquarters.”
Beeman witnessed first hand the popularity that King has enjoyed among Mainers. At a Fourth of July parade, Beeman was amazed to see people’s evident excitement as they reached out their hands to King.
“Coming from New Jersey, I didn’t have that much of a grasp of how popular and well-liked he was as a governor,” explained Beeman. “At the parade, the announcer played Hail to the Chief as a joke. Angus and his wife were folded over laughing.”
Beyond charisma, Beeman finds that King’s bipartisan views on political issues make him stand out among his competitors.
Over the summer, he hosted an event with Congressman Erskine Bowles (D-NC), co-author of the Simpson-Bowles plan to reduce the federal deficit, that focused on substance over rhetoric.
“It was about finding a balanced solution that’s not necessarily perfect, but plausible,” said Beeman. “It wasn’t just about listing what the party wanted them to list.”
Working on the campaign has sparked Beeman’s interest in pursuing studies in international law.
“While interning, I did policy research for a couple of issues that related to international law,” she said. “I found it fascinating, so I e-mailed Government Professor Allen Springer about taking his international law class, which I am currently enrolled in.”