Former Glenn aide visits political union

Kiera Manion-Fischer


Caroline Arnold, former assistant to U.S. Senator John Glenn, explains her experience working in the fast-paced world of politics.

Credit: Adam Griffiths

Caroline Arnold talked about life in a United States Senate office at last night’s Kent Political Union meeting in the Student Center.

Arnold began working for former U.S. Sen. John Glenn in 1985 and continued for 12 years. Her duties included writing speeches, press releases, editorials and answering letters.

She spent four years in Glenn’s Washington, D.C. office and eight in his Cleveland office, but Arnold said she preferred working in the capital.

“It was very rewarding,” she said. “You saw what you did makes a difference.”

She said there were a lot of dedicated and energetic people at the office.

“A lot of people go to Washington because of what’s called ‘Potomac fever,'” she said. “They want to be where the action is.”

Arnold started her career in Washington after completing one semester of Kent State’s doctoral program in rhetoric and communication. She applied for and won a six-month fellowship in Glenn’s office, but when she finished the fellowship, she was asked to stay full-time.

Arnold said she had to do some extra letter-writing because John Glenn is not just a senator but also a famous astronaut. She said she answered a lot of letters from kids who wanted to hear about his adventures in space.

“Senators have other responsibilities besides going to the floor and voting,” she said. “A lot is constituent service.”

She said about 500 letters a day went out of Glenn’s Washington office.

One of Arnold’s duties at the Cleveland office was representing Glenn at events he could not attend in Ohio. When Kent State’s former president Carol Cartwright was elected in 1991, Arnold visited her on behalf of Sen. Glenn.

Now that she’s retired from politics, Arnold writes a weekly political column for the Record-Courier.

Travis Oberlin, freshman history major and member of Kent Political Union, said he thought Arnold’s speech was very informative.

“You don’t usually think of the staff,” he said. “You just think of the politician. You don’t realize how many people support the politician.”

Joe Amato, senior political science and history major and secretary of Kent Political Union, agreed.

He said the speech “gave great insight into the workings of a senate office.”

Contact news correspondent Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].