Franklin Borre in Weinstein Hall's Garden of Five Lions

Franklin Borre, '22

May 6, 2022
Senior seeks communications career in the political arena

Countless hours went into planning the County Chairs’ Brunch, the premiere annual event of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA). About a thousand party leaders, members, partners, elected officials, and political hopefuls from across the state planned to attend the Aug. 18 brunch at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

But less than a week before the event that would kick start the 2021 campaign season, the association’s executive director decided to move the brunch outdoors due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases.  

“In helping with some of the logistical challenges that shift required, I learned a lot about adapting plans based on factors outside my control,” said Franklin Borre, ’22, of Libertyville, Ill., who completed his Jepson internship with the IDCCA last summer. “In the end, the event went really well.”

This lesson in adaptability will benefit the leadership studies and political science major in his anticipated career working with the Democratic Party, he said. Supported by a Burrus Fellowship, his IDCCA internship also gave him valuable experience in communications, voter data collection and analysis, and political strategizing.

Borre continued honing his political savvy this semester through his Legislative Internship class. Working 12 hours a week in the office of Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell, the Democratic chair of the state’s Finance and Appropriations Committee, he sorted constituent email and observed the Virginia General Assembly in action.

“This internship gave me insights into governing, rather than campaigning,” he said. “I observed legislators working across the aisle and compromising.”

Since September 2021, the political enthusiast also has interned with the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC), which operates the nation’s largest Democratic campaign training program. During his internship, Borre has written scripts and an operating manual and provided other logistical support for NDTC trainings. In January 2022, he enrolled as a student in a 10-week NDTC Staff Academy Program, where he learned campaign communications strategies.

His University of Richmond classes have also contributed to his understanding of the political arena, he added.

“My Campaigns and Elections class with Dr. Ernest McGowen exposed me to the inner workings of a campaign from an academic perspective,” Borre said. “In Dr. Javier Hidalgo’s Critical Thinking class, I wrote a paper about reforming the Electoral College to make it work in the 21st century. And in Dr. Al Goethals' Presidential Leadership class, we discussed political scientist Fred Greenstein’s framework for evaluating the effectiveness of presidents.”

Another class, the Democratic Prospect taught by Dr. Kenneth Ruscio in spring 2022, gave the Presidential Scholar a high-level overview of the fragile state of democracy today.

“Our democracy is only as strong as our political leaders,” the senior said. “When politicians cast doubts about the legitimacy of an election in such a way that a portion of the electorate believes and internalizes it, that’s a problem for democracy. It is important to work for candidates in ways that keep democracy intact for future generations.”

In recognition of his outstanding academic and leadership record, Borre will carry the Jepson School of Leadership Studies banner at Commencement as the School’s recipient of the Clarence J. Gray Achievement Award for Excellence. After graduation, he plans to launch a career supporting Democratic politicians, whether that be on a local, state, or national level.

“I learned how to interact with the media and write a good stump speech in the NDTC Staff Academy Program. I am ready to help candidates and elected officials communicate their messages.”