Chris Barkley

2016 Lincoln Fellow

What is your current position?

I am the Policy Director for the Senate Republican Policy Committee. 

What inspired you to choose this career path?

Working on Capitol Hill is great because it falls at the intersection of policy, politics, and communications. You get to weigh in on big issues, but you also have to think hard both about substance and how to say what you want to say. Getting all three right at once is hard, but amazing when you do.  

There are all sorts of educational programs out there for current and rising conservative professionals. What do you think makes the Claremont Institute’s Fellowships unique??

Claremont gave me the best opportunity I’ve had since leaving school to replenish some intellectual capital. It’s easy to spend down whatever you have at work day in and day out. There are not a lot of times to take some time out and build it back up. Claremont does that better than anyone else I’ve seen.   

If you could have a drink with an American Founder, or any great thinker, who would it be, why, and what would you order?

Probably John Adams and a Manhattan, because what other cocktail is there, really? John Adams isn’t only a brilliant thinker (in his mind, he was the real author of the Declaration), but his hatreds ran so deep he’d probably have some hilarious stories.

Looking back on history, in which one of the original 13 colonies would you have wanted to live and why?

Maryland, where I live now, would be hard to beat. It was always in the middle of all the action, but I also really want to know what my neighborhood was like back then.

What books are you currently reading, and what book has left a lasting impression with you? Why?

Currently reading Oren Cass’ forthcoming book, “Once and Future Worker.” Excellent book focusing the importance of policy that promotes work and family. A book that left a lasting impression on me is “Living in God’s Two Kingdoms” by David VanDrunen. It lays out a biblical approach to culture and politics, which is good for both the church and the state.

What is your favorite cultural/recreational pastime (or hobby) and why?

My kids and I like to scour thrift stores for hidden gems. I keep waiting to turn up an original copy of the Declaration of Independence so I can finally see if it has that map on the back. If not that, we like to check out Civil War sites.