Arielle Mueller, Speechwriters Fellow 2018
What is your current position?
I’m a press secretary for Senator Marco Rubio.
What inspired you to choose this career path?
I have always loved writing, and knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could write in some capacity. After an internship with Congressman Scalise in college, I knew that I wanted to work on the Hill. Then I moved to Spain for a year to get my Masters’ degree and teach English. After I returned from Europe, I came back to the Hill and started working for Senator Rubio.
What are you currently working on?
Staying on top of the 24/7 news cycle.
How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?
After hearing from friends who loved their experience in other fellowships, I was excited to find a fellowship held weekly in DC that focused on speechwriting.
What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?
The closing dinner of our Speechwriters class. It was nice to spend the evening together, sharing a meal with fellow classmates and the lecturers who led the fellowship.
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 invests in both the intellectual and professional sides of its students, and that you don’t find at every educational program.
If you could have a fireside chat and drink with an American Founder, or any great thinker, who would it be, why, and what would you order and discuss?
I would take a shot with Alexander Hamilton. Kidding—we would probably drink Dark 'n' Stormy’s.
Recently I saw the Broadway musical Hamilton, so I would ask him what he thinks of Lin-Manuel Miranda’ characterization of him.
In which one of the original 13 colonies, looking back on history, would you have wanted to live and why?
I appreciate the comforts of modern life too much to live in a time without indoor plumbing or air conditioning.
What qualities do you believe are needed to achieve great statesmanship in this century and why?
Integrity, because character matters. We need leaders to elevate our civic discourse as a nation and set an example for their people to strive for.
A moral compass, rooted in absolute truths. Our leaders have the responsibility of making the tough call, and must have an absolute sense of right and wrong.
Vision. A statesman must know where he wants to take his people, and what it takes to get there.
What books are you currently reading?
I am always reading several books at once. Currently reading:
The Course of Love—Alain de Botton
One Hundred Years of Solitude— Gabriel García Márquez
Man’s Search for Meaning—Viktor Frankl
What book, film, or speech has left a lasting impression with you and why?
East of Eden by Steinbeck. The way that Steinbeck weaves the lives of his characters together is powerful. The book left a lasting impression because Steinbeck strikes the core of what it means to be human. We all inherit Cain's curse, but we also inherit his ability to be redeemed. The discovery that the Hebrew word “timshel” means “thou mayest” is an important theme in the novel, suggesting that man is neither compelled to pursue sainthood nor doomed to sin, but he has the power to choose.
Do you have a favorite quote? Is there a reason this quote resonates so strongly with you?
I really love this line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day:”
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
The entire poem is beautiful, but these words just stick out to me, and I remember them often. It’s easy to slip into the day to day life and not think about the overall purpose of our lives. Life really is “wild and precious,” and we must make the most of it.
What is the most distinctive attribute/character of the people in the state where you grew up that you genuinely admire?
If you’re saying goodbye to a Minnesotan, most of the time you will stay longer than you thought you would. A “quick goodbye” often turns into a 10-15 minute conversation. Minnesotans give a full goodbye, walking you to the door, to the curb, to your car, and might even shout to you as you drive away.
What is your favorite cultural/recreational pastime (or hobby) and why?
When I can get the time off work, I travel. I love spending time in different parts of the world, with different languages and cultures. I recently went to Colombia, and am already planning my next adventure.