A self-described “political junky,” Ryan Peene’s selection to the New Jersey delegation for the Republican National Convention is a natural outgrowth of an interest cultivated in childhood.
“My parents operated a tavern in New Jersey and as a kid I’d sit at the bar and talk to patrons about sports and politics,” says Peene, who just completed his first summer in Notre Dame’s master of nonprofit administration program (MNA).
A fifth-grade assignment involving facts about presidents cemented Peene’s love of the political process and further fueled his political passion.
“I became immersed in history, loving presidential politics and loving the process, I went to my first convention as a high school senior and attended one session, then in 1998, I served as a congressional page. It was the greatest job I’ll never have again,” says Peene, a Rutgers University graduate and New Jersey’s youngest delegate.
Accommodating the full-time work schedules of participants, Notre Dame’s MNA program enables students to complete a degree in 14 to 50 months. Peene currently is employed as a lobbyist in New Jersey for the Capitol Impact Group, a company that offers growth strategies for nonprofit organizations. He focuses on making sure that issues in the nonprofit sector are heard by legislators.
“Since Notre Dame’s MNA program is rooted in service, it will help me use the legislative process to benefit the nonprofit sector,” Peene said.
Though more than a month away (Sept. 1 to 4), Peene’s enthusiasm about participating in the Republican convention as a delegate couldn’t be more sincere. But there is a troubling glitch that has nothing to do with Democrats and Republicans.
“I’ve seen the (New York) Giants’ last 46 consecutive games, and I’m going to miss their home opener this year – it’s on the same night that McCain will give his acceptance speech,” he said.