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National Intern Spotlight: John Hogan

3 July 2012

Where are you from and what school do you attend?
I am from southern California and I attend St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland.

What do you study?
My primary focus is philosophy and the history of math and science with some theology, music theory, and literature thrown in for fun. Officially, it amounts to a B.A. in Liberal Arts.

What made you want to intern here?
I was interested in PVS because of the mission and the location. I knew I wanted another politically focused internship, but I was frustrated by the amount of partisanship inherent in the process. Spending a summer here seemed like a way I could help fix this problem. As for the location, I have spent my whole life in cities and suburbs and wanted to give the wilderness a try. I ended up loving the mountains so much that I'm back this summer for a second time. I also came back because, in a presidential election year, the work PVS does becomes even more important and pressing.

What is your typical day like?
On a typical work day, I'll get up at about 7am, grab some breakfast, and head into the office at 8am. When work ends at 5pm, I can go read a book by Moose Lake, go hiking in the mountains, or just relax in the lodge. When you're in the office it can seem like any other job, but after work you get to enjoy the beauty of rural Montana.

What do you do in your free time here?
There's more to do on the weekends than you might think. Two cities, Anaconda and Philipsburg, are only about an hour drive away and full of history to explore. I also enjoy exploring the wilderness around the ranch and sleeping in.

How does your work benefit Project Vote Smart?
Right now, I'm working on Vote Easy research. I'm trying to find out the positions of candidates who have not yet completed the Political Courage Test by compiling evidence from their public record. If enough evidence is available for a particular issue, then I will infer what the candidate's position is on that issue. Ultimately, all this information will go into the Vote Easy tool so that people can see which candidates have the same political beliefs as them and make a more informed voting decision.

Why do you feel Project Vote Smart is important?
PVS is important because voting is important. Too often, people rely on a candidate's party affiliation to make their decisions rather than what the candidate has actually said or done. Project Vote Smart makes it easier for people to break this habit. Especially with Vote Easy, we do the hours of research looking at candidates' websites and records so that citizens can find out a candidate's issue positions in just a few minutes rather than in a few hours.

Related tags: blog, California, interns, Maryland

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