16 BizVoice/Indiana Chamber – January/February 2018 The last name isn’t necessary – say “Reince” and most everyone knows who you are referring to. From late 2015 through last summer, he was a frequent media presence and even topic: first as the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman, then as President Trump’s first chief of staff. On February 13, Reince Priebus will share his unique experiences at the Indiana Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Dinner. As a sneak peek, BizVoice ® magazine caught up with him in late November. What led you to a career in politics and to the Republican Party in particular? RP: “The inspiration was my grandfather. Half of my family lived in Greece; my mother is Greek. My Greek grandfather loved politics and everything about it; (he) followed it every day. But he also loved everything about the United States. I was captured by that because he loved every little crumb and morsel of this country. That sort of pressed upon the rest of us how lucky we were to be here. So that’s really what started my interest in politics. “Then at a local level in Kenosha, Wisconsin, I got involved in the Republican Party. It probably had a lot to do with Ronald Reagan being President at the time. And local officials that encouraged young people to get involved in politics in the local party made a big difference in my start. “From there, I got involved in (current U.S. House Speaker) Paul Ryan’s efforts (for Congress), and he and I became very close friends. I was his chairman for four or five years. I eventually went from state treasurer to state chairman in Wisconsin. And by then was general counsel of the Republican National Committee. And then ultimately chairman of the RNC for six years.” What was your proudest achievement in running the RNC? RP: “Building up the massive organization and building a data, infrastructure and turnout model that became the blueprint for national parties. It’s what Donald Trump was able to tap into in order to be victorious. The Trump campaign didn’t have the massive infrastructure we built, but they had the fortune of a national party that had its act together. “You look at the DNC (Democratic National Committee); they had nothing. Hillary Clinton had nothing to tap into. The theory was that Hillary Clinton was going to be able to tap into something big once it became clear she was going to be the nominee, which was supposed to be very early. The problem is they never got around to building anything around her because they ended up in a dogfight with (Sen.) Bernie Sanders. “There was no Obama data operation, no field operation for her – From Wisconsin to the West Wing JUST REINCE By Rebecca Patrick Then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus takes the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2017 (Michael Landon photo, licensed under CC BY 2.0) .