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2017 “30 Under 30” Finalists – *Readers’ Choice Voting Open*

Derek Khanna

Age

24

Location

College University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2009

Occupation

Hill Staffer/Republican Study Committee

Twitter

@DerekKhanna

Derek Khanna is a Professional Staffer for the Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives. Khanna, 24, has previously worked on Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign and in the office of Senator Scott Brown (R-MA).

Khanna got his start in politics by interning for the Massachusetts Republican Party in high school. At the time, they were understaffed, allowing Khanna to take on more responsibility.

“As soon as I showed up, they handed me a portfolio with candidates to manage,” Khanna recalled.

In college at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Khanna got his first taste of liberal bias. As a member of the College Republicans (CRs) Khanna led the fight against the school’s legal affirmative action system and stopped the school from shutting down a conservative newspaper by filibustering in student government. (Until he got escorted out by police that is.)

“Those are issues that for the most part, the Republican Party probably wouldn’t want anything to do with,” he said, emphasizing the GOP’s need to better utilize College Republicans in order to recruit more young people.

Although Khanna is a major supporter of the College Republicans, serving at one time as the Executive Political Director of CRs for the Massachusetts GOP, just being a CR member isn’t enough, he says.

If “you’re just checking the box and showing up to the weekly meetings, if you’re not actually involved on a daily basis and you think you’re OK because you have a political science degree, you’re probably going to be mistaken.”

Thirty Under Thirty 2012

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