Meet Meghan Meehan-Draper – one of the “30 under 30” rising stars of Florida politics

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Meghan Meehan-Draper, 24, spent her childhood writing letters to President Clinton, attending Lawton Chiles’ memorial service, and being “served politics for dinner” by both of her parents who are active in environmental and migrant worker policy.

With that, “I couldn’t NOT be involved in progressive politics,” writes Meghan.

Meghan’s first shot was with Cliff Thaell, former county commissioner in Leon County, where she interned as an 18-year old and then campaigned for when just out of college. From there Meghan worked in finance for Loranne Ausley, worked for the Florida-based campaign firm Salter>Mitchell, and has since been raising money for Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

When beginning a campaign, Meghan looks first for a candidate with similar ideals (“pro-choice is a must!”) and has learned to “never stop asking.” She looks forward to a future in which she is a top fundraiser for a woman President.

Latest tweet from @MegMeehanDraper: “Enjoyed meeting @GwenForCongress last night! Great event, great host committee! #WomenInCongress #JustSayNo to Steve Southerland.”

Here is Meghan in her own words:

I am 24 years-young.

I live in Tampa… Am from Tallahassee…. I went to school Eckerd College. I hope to visit Bora Bora soon enough.

I entered politics because I was always very interested in it from the time I was a little girl. I used to write letters to President Clinton, and I attended Lawton Chiles’ memorial service as a 10 year old. I was just very invested in those who were political and thought leaders in the state and country.  I like to say that my parents served politics for dinner every night – my father has always been a leader in environmental policy in Florida (led the Florida Forever campaign and is now President of the Audubon Society), and my mother had me participating in marches for migrant worker rights when I was in kindergarden.  I couldn’t NOT be involved in progressive politics.

One principle I always put above politics is… don’t take yourself too seriously.

Person or people who gave me my first shot: Cliff Thaell – a former county commissioner in Leon County. I interned in his office when I was 18, his was the first campaign I worked on after I graduated college.  Also big shout out to Gary Yordon who believed in me early on and to Loranne Ausley who gave me my first finance gig.

I’ve already worked for/on: I raised money on Loranne Ausley’s CFO race in 2010, did issue campaigns for the Florida-based campaign firm Salter>Mitchell in 2011, and I’ve been raising money for our state’s finest member of Congress Kathy Castor since 2012.

When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for… a candidate whose ideals are in line with mine. Pro-choice is a must!

I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors: Congresswoman Kathy Castor, my father Eric Draper, Dr. James Janack at Eckerd College, President Don Eastman at Eckerd College, Peter Fenn of Fenn Communications in D.C., and Peter Mitchell – COO at Salter>Mitchell

The people I most admire in politics are: My dad above all.  But also Betty Castor and the Castor women, Bob Graham, Nancy Pelosi

One lesson I’ve already learned is… Never stop asking. And it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes.  

If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be working in (which field)… as a professional back up dancer for Beyonce and/or Justin Timberlake.

In ten years, you’ll read about me… being a top fundraiser for a woman President!

You can connect with me via email – m.meehan.draper@gmail.com.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.