Orlando Watson wasn’t always interested in politics.
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In fact, the 27-year-old thought he’d end up in the private sector.
Roll Call noted of Watson in 2013, “Capitol Hill was never in Orlando Watson’s plan. Convinced that the private sector creates more value for society and that politics was becoming too divisive, the new press secretary for Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., decided to major in public policy at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.”
Per the Roll Call story, in 2008 on the advice of his professors, “Watson began to take a good look at presidential candidates across the political spectrum — and that’s when then-Rep. Ron Paul caught his eye.”
“The more I learned about Dr. Ron Paul, the more I became […] sort of reinvigorated,” Watson said.
Orlando then got to work on his first political campaign—that of Ron Paul’s son, future Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky. There wasn’t an aspect of the campaign Watson wasn’t involved in, from fundraising to press inquiries, to driving the candidate from event to event.
When Paul won that election in 2010, Watson joined the senator’s communications team as Deputy Press Secretary.
Orlando would later leave Sen. Paul to work for Congressman Paul Gosar, leading his communications team.
Coming from a libertarian-conservative bent, Watson believes his youth and ideological background positions him well to perform minority outreach for the Republican Party. There are certain issues where he believes the GOP is best suited to help the black community.
The Root highlighted Orlando in 2014: “Watson says that he hopes to engage black voters around the issues of school choice and economic reform. ‘People define conservatism today as meaning sort of backward or authoritarian or stuck in the past, but that’s not how I define it at all,’ he says. ‘I care about the middle class and the working poor and people who are trying to achieve the American dream.'”
“Growing the party and recruiting the next generation of black Republicans requires that we build relationships in places we haven’t always been,” Watson wrote at CNN when he began doing outreach for the RNC.
“Now, I’ll be the first to admit that even that is not enough,” Watson said. “But it’s a big start in a short period of time and a major step in the right direction.”
Watson recently left his post as a spokesman and Communications Director for Black Media at the Republican National Committee. He had held this post for two years.
Watch the full YouTube videos credited above: RNC Spokesman Orlando Watson on Arise TV – 10/29/14 via Watson RNC, RNC Spokesman Orlando Watson Discusses Minority Engagement on MSNBC via Watson RNC