Meet Ryan Duffy – one of the “30 under 30” rising stars in Florida politics

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Ryan Duffy, 29, was just fours old when Ronald Reagan left office, but he remembers listening to his speeches and being inspired by Reagan’s “love of country, commitment to ‘peace through strength’ overseas and belief in the free market over government.”

Today, Ryan continues to share and generate these messages in his various political roles, most recently as Speaker Will Weatherford’s communications director. 

Ryan’s first shot was from Dave Bitner “who let me volunteer for his campaign for state representative when I was 13 years old and then gave me the opportunity to serve as a page in the Florida House when I was in 7th grade.”  His first “real job” came from Alia Faraj while in Governor Jeb Bush’s press office.

When beginning a project or campaign, Ryan’s gut check is whether the cause is something he can feel proud of, win or lose; and remembers the lesson, “always start with getting the facts.”

Ryan has worked for President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-elect as an intern; Governor Jeb Bush as press assistant and speechwriter; Senators Mel Martinez and George LeMieux as speechwriter; and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum as deputy communications director.

In ten years you’ll be reading of Ryan on the “latest, greatest social network of 2023.” But for now, here’s the latest tweet from @RyanPDuffy: “#NorthAmerica is incredible. If you’re not watching, you should be.”

Here’s Ryan in his own words:

I am 29 years old.

I live in Tallahassee … Am from Port Charlotte…. I went to school at Florida State University (undergraduate) and George Washington University (graduate). I hope to visit Dallas to visit the Bush Library soon.

I entered politics because… Although I was only four years old when Ronald Reagan left office, I have always been inspired by his love of country, commitment to “peace through strength” overseas and belief in the free market over government.  Growing up, I listened to many of his speeches, read his writings and I still marvel at his unique ability to connect with everyday Americans (both Republicans and Democrats).  Ultimately, I decided to enter politics because while it’s not perfect, I believe it’s the greatest system of government in the world.  I feel fortunate to have experienced it at all levels, having worked for a U.S Senator, a Governor and Speaker, and even volunteering for my mom, who is a Charlotte County Commissioner.

Our country needs uniting figures like Reagan and I hope to be involved in a return to an era similar to the one he presided over in my lifetime.

One set of principles I always put above politics is… My faith.

Person or people who gave me my first shot: Dave Bitner, who let me volunteer for his campaign for state representative when I was 13 years old and then gave me the opportunity to serve as a page in the Florida House when I was in 7th grade.  Alia Faraj for giving me my first real job in Governor Bush’s Press Office.

I’ve already worked for/on: President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election as an intern, Governor Jeb Bush as a press assistant and then a speechwriter, Senator Mel Martinez (and his replacement, George LeMieux) as a speechwriter, Bill McCollum’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign as Deputy Communications Director and now with House Speaker Will Weatherford’s Office as Communications Director.

When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for… is this a cause I can be proud of win or lose?

I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors: Dave & Wendy Bitner, who I’ve known since I was in diapers, Alia Faraj, who taught me the value of returning important phone calls in a timely manner and Kathy Mears, who has the best sense of humor of anyone I know.

The people I most admire in politics are: Jeb Bush for possessing the rare ability of being great at both campaigning AND governing and Will Weatherford for having wisdom beyond his years.

One lesson I’ve already learned is… Always start with getting the facts. It’s rule #1 in communications.

If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be working in (which field)… Most likely education since I come from a long line of educators… my grandfather was a dean at a college, my father was my high school principal and I’m married to a former fifth grade teacher.

In ten years, you’ll read about me… Hopefully on the latest, greatest social network of 2023.

You can connect with me via twitter.com/ryanpduffy and facebook.com/ryanpduffy

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.