This former political “road warrior,” as he calls himself, admits he misses the campaigns along those roads traveled but is now more than happy to not be living out of a suitcase and finally sleeping in his own bed – in his own house. Adam Deguire, Vice President of Federal and State Relations for Arizona State University, or as he puts it, “relationship manager” for this public university with 100,000 students, recently spent 45 minutes with Candidates.vote’s Clark H. Caras and admitted, as a graduate of the University of Arizona, there are still friends who don’t know he’s working for “that other university”.
Candidates.vote– Aren’t you committing some kind of heresy by going from one to the other in this state? ASU and the U of A have one of the greatest traditions for rivalry in America. How’d something like this happen?
Deguire (With a bit of a chuckle in his voice…)– It’s a cultural thing, it really is. I’ll admit it. I’ve still got friends from the University of Arizona who don’t know I’m working for Arizona State University.
Deguire was a political road warrior before coming to ASU. He served as Congressman Matt Salmon’s chief of staff and worked campaigns in New Mexico with Governor Susana Martinez. Deguire also served as executive director and GOTV director for two GOP committees, recently helped to defeat recreational marijuana in Arizona, and was a part of the AXIOM Public Affairs group for a time.
Candidates.vote– So what’s it been like for a political minded “road warrior” as you put it, to go from that to academia?
Deguire– It all still feels new. ASU is big, but it’s more enjoyable than I ever thought. Our University President, Dr. Michael Crow, is very aggressive and results oriented. We’re moving full speed and seeing spectacular success.
What I did before this is in my blood. Part of my DNA. I’m a political operative and I’m a junkie about it. It’s been so exciting though to sink my teeth into public policy because we do deal with more than just higher education. I’ve been able to get involved with, and meet a new network of people who are not political.Adam Deguire
Candidates.vote– So representing the university at the capitol is just enough politics to keep you going though?
Deguire– I am a registered lobbyist for the university at the state capitol and spend a lot of time there and on a state and federal level as are a lot of other people. It is nice though to be in a bit of a “new world”. I’m working with business folks and academia now and it’s been enlightening to be out of the political world. Life is a bit more “normal” now; especially with the birth of our first child 10 weeks ago.
Candidates.vote– Congratulations to you and your wife. Was the baby a boy or girl?
Deguire– A boy. And let me admit to you; he’s been a game changer.
Candidates.vote– Let me ask you a question that is becoming a staple in the dotVote interviews. So are you a cheeseburger or a hamburger person?
Deguire– Cheeseburger. Love cheese! You can put cheese on just about anything for me, other than oatmeal or cereal.
Candidates.vote– What book would we find Adam Deguire reading right now?.
Deguire– Not really engaged in a book. Well… that’s not necessarily true. I guess you could say I’m about nine months into “The Presidents Club” by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. I gravitate more to biographies and American history. But this book is interesting because it talks about the interactions between the different American Presidents as they came into office and went out.
And it’s filled with the staff’s interactions and is put in a historical context. You can learn a lot from the people around those presidents.
Candidates.vote– So really, one book in nine months?
Deguire– Truthfully. I’m a news junkie! I could read periodicals all day if I could. The last thing I read before bed is an article from a periodical, or the Wall Street Journal. I love to stay up to date and current on things.
I think reading has turned more to this type of thing because the younger generation’s attention span is less. My goal often times is to just find the strangest article I can find.
Candidates.vote– What’s the last good movie or television show you’ve watched?
Deguire– That goes right along with reading the periodicals. So we watch a lot of television series. Narcos: Mexico is one of our favorites on Netflix. And I loved Ozark. I find many of the series you can watch on Netflix are better than the movies.
Candidates.vote– So to all of those young wanna be road warriors who are still studying at ASU or even the U of A. What kind of advice do you have for them?
Deguire– Don’t forget the grassroots. Knowing how to do that is going to come in handy in any campaign they work on or run. President Trump’s campaign is a perfect example – grassroots turned it into a political machine.
Same with Bernie Sanders and Beto. Organize from the bottom up, not from the top down.
Candidates.vote– It might be hard for them to fill those grassroots spots these days because of people being discouraged with what some might see and there being no use. What advice do you have for those people?
Deguire– The ugliest side of politics is in what you’re going to read in the news. Ignore that and work on making a better America and it can be done.
Having worked in Congress I got to know Senator Kyrsten Sinema as I was flying back and forth. We’d be sitting next to each other, she didn’t know me from Adam, but she would listen to me about anything.
She got me into triathlons and taught me you can have deep friendships with people on the other side of the aisle. Don’t get discouraged by what you read. She and I train together now. I even have family who don’t agree with me politically, but we love each other.