Will Forscher smiled as he put the finishing touches on the speech he had been writing and saved it to his computer. He stood up and stretched, then walked over to the quarter full coffee pot and went to pour himself a cup of the liquid upon which most political campaigns depended. He shook his head as what almost appeared to be sludge poured from the coffee pot and into his cup. Feeling daring, he took a tiny sip, grimaced and poured the contents of his cup and the coffee pot into the sink. He then prepared a fresh pot, hit the switch and waited for it to be ready.
At thirty three years of age, Will was living his dream. He was happy with everything in his life except for one thing, and he knew that would come along when the time was right. Will had worked hard to get to where he was now. He took a number of advanced placement courses in high school, which gave him college credits. His grandparents had set up an educational trust when he was born, so all of his expenses were paid through graduate school at Yale. By taking courses during the summer, he was able to earn his PhD in economics by the time he was twenty five. Now, eight and a half years later, Will Forscher was the National Issues Director for the presidential campaign of the woman described as "the most dynamic member of the US Senate" and as "the conscience of the Senate".
Will met Dr. Janice Rener at Yale, where she was his academic adviser throughout his entire time in grad school. Will found her to be a brilliant economist whose insights into sources of additional information and data while he was writing his doctoral thesis to be invaluable. He successfully defended his thesis on the coming economic crash, how to prevent it, and how to ease its effects, had it published, and received his PhD in Economics from Yale in May, 2007.
At the reception following his defense of his thesis, Dr. Rener asked Will to stop by her office for a few minutes before he left for the day. When he arrived there, she ushered him into her office and closed the door behind them.
She reached out and shook his hand and said, "Congratulations Dr. Forscher. How does it feel to have reached your goal?"
Will smiled, shook his adviser's hand and replied, "Dr. Rener,"
She interrupted him and said, "Please call me Janice." She smiled and added, "After all we are now both doctors."
Will smiled back and continued, "Okay Janice. Boy that sounds strange!" He laughed and replied to her original question, "I feel a sense of accomplishment and relief that it's over. I have a number of job offers to consider, but I think I'm going to take off for the summer to decompress. I haven't had a summer off since between my junior and senior years of high school, so I feel I could use the break."
Janice laughed with him and said, "I can imagine you could use a break. Do any of the job offers look interesting?"
"I haven't looked at any of them closely because I've been so focused on my thesis. I figure I'll do that over the summer and decide after that."
"What kinds of places have contacted you?"
"A couple of Wall Street firms, but with what I see happening, I don't think that would be a good idea. I have several offers to teach, several to work with think tanks, and a couple with cable news and business channels."
Janice looked at Will for a moment, smiled and said, "What I'm going to tell you is confidential and needs to be kept quiet for a little while until I'm ready to make it public."
Will answered, "Sure. I have no problem keeping things confidential."
"I know," she answered. "That's why I'm taking you into my confidence on this." She paused for a moment and then plunged ahead. "I will be taking a year long sabbatical beginning in September. I have been asked by a number of people to consider running for the US Senate here in Connecticut." Will gasped when she told him that. She paused, took a breath and continued, "I have decided to run and I would like you to be the Issues Director for my campaign. I won't be able to pay you what you could make at some of these other places, but if we win, I would like to take you to Washington and have you work for me there."
Will was stunned. "What all will this entail?" They spent the next hour or so discussing what she envisioned him doing both in the campaign, as well as in Washington if she won the election.
Will took several weeks to evaluate the various job offers he had received, including the one from Janice. The smallest offer he received would have paid him twice what Janice could pay him, while one of the Wall Street firms offered him over ten times that. The smallest offer was from a think tank, and he felt he could be comfortable doing research and writing papers about economic policies for them.
Even though he could make a lot more money elsewhere, Will decided to work for his mentor. He knew her and they got along well together. She challenged him to think outside of the box to come up with ideas he never would have considered. Most importantly however, she gave him the opportunity to affect the development of economic and other policies which would have economic effects in what was sure to be a very difficult time.
Janice won her election and was sworn into office as the junior Senator from Connecticut in January, 2009. Will went to Washington with her, serving as her second ranking staff member behind only her chief of staff. He and his staff were responsible for researching and analyzing any issues and proposed legislation which would come before the Senate, as well as writing legislation which Janice would introduce or cosponsor. Will was busy but he was very happy because he loved what he was doing. He felt like he was making a difference and that he had some influence on how the country's economic policies were developed.
Janice quickly made an impression on her colleagues in the Senate. She fought hard against the big money interests, especially Wall Street and the banking industry. Her expose's of attempts by the banking industry to slip in amendments which would weaken consumer and taxpayer protections became famous. Several of her speeches condemning the greed of the big money interests and the potential effects on the middle and working classes went viral on the internet. Janice introduced legislation to raise taxes on the wealthy while cutting them for people earning less than $100,000. She introduced legislation to ease the burdens that student loans put on those who were graduating college. She cosponsored legislation to raise the minimum wage. She cosponsored legislation to repair and improve the infrastructure, which has been deteriorating nearly to the point of collapse for years. She supported the Affordable Care Act, as a step in the right direction, although she didn't feel it went far enough. She supported the stimulus which passed Congress, although she didn't feel that it was large enough to be as effective as it could have been.
Janice bitterly denounced the amendments which lobbyists were able to get tacked onto the banking reform bill as it wended its way through Congress. She withheld her support of the bill until some of the more outrageous amendments had been removed. She reluctantly supported the bill's final passage. She stated that she was going to "hold her nose" while she voted for it because the bill was a little better than the current situation without one, although that wasn't saying a whole lot. She pledged to introduce banking reform legislation which would have real teeth in it, not the milquetoast bill which became law.
A number of news stories came out stating that defeating Senator Janice Rener's reelection bid in 2014 was the top priority for the banking industry and most large corporations. Janice turned that to her advantage, mobilizing a massive grass roots campaign funded by small donors from around the country that raised nearly as much money as her opponent in response. In an election which saw Republicans take back the Senate and the House enlarged their unruly majority, Janice Rener won reelection in a landslide, winning 63% of the votes cast.
Due to her margin of victory in the midst of a nationwide Democratic electoral debacle, speculation began shortly after the elections that she would run for president. Janice REALLY did not want to run for president. She had been deeply involved with several presidential campaigns. She knew the kind of pressure that candidates and their families were subject to. She was also reelected to another term as the Senator from Connecticut, and she felt that she couldn't serve them the way she should if she were also running for president.
A grass roots draft Rener movement was started and grew rapidly. Many Democrats saw Janice as the best alternative to the candidate who had already been anointed by the media as the next president. Janice and many others in the party saw the "Anointed One" as being too close to Wall Street and felt that they would be too likely to do what was best for Wall Street, not Main Street. After several months of intense pressure and realizing that she probably had the best chance at stopping the juggernaut, Janice began talking to her friends, family and close advisers, including Will.
.... There is more of this story ...