#IAmUnitedLiberty: How college helped Jeff Scully light the torch for liberty

Jeff Scully

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and friends and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

In the fall of 2007 I stepped onto the campus of Rutgers-Camden for the first time. I didn’t have the slightest idea which career field I wanted to enter, which major I would choose – heck, I hardly knew where my classes were.

What I did know was what my major shouldn’t be; everybody told me to stay away from a Bachelor of Art’s degree because they “don’t mean anything.” I struggled for a long time deciding what career field I wanted to enter. Eventually, I went with my heart and made the best decision of my life which would eventually result in moving to and working in Washington, D.C.

I took courses from several different majors, trying to get a feel for what I wanted to do. During my first semester at Rutgers-Camden, I took an intro to political science class. I hardly had an interest in politics as I thought that those who were interested in politics either wanted a cushy job in government, or even worse, become a politician for a living.

However, as part of a homework assignment I was required to watch one of the Republican Presidential Debates in October of 2007 and write a review of what I had thought of the candidates and their positions. Before the debate, I felt politically homeless. I knew I wasn’t a Democrat since I didn’t believe in taxes, entitlement programs, and everything in between. I felt like I could have been a Republican because I believed in the Constitution and limited government, but I despised the preemptive wars and destruction of our civil liberties by the Bush Administration.

As I watched that debate, I heard candidates talk about cutting taxes here and there, an occasional spending cut and maybe a mention of the Constitution for a quick applause from the crowd. The moderator then asked candidates how they felt about the need to consult congress on various situations and issues. Most candidates stuttered, dodged the question, and some even mentioned consulting lawyers.

Then one candidate said something so simple and easy to understand: “Why don’t we just open up the Constitution and read it!” The candidate was Congressman Ron Paul. I Googled his named and became engulfed in the ideas of personal liberty, prosperity, and most of all, peace. I began reading countless books on my free time on Austrian Economics and libertarianism; it lit a fire inside me. I was no longer politically homeless, I realized then that there was a new movement for liberty brewing in the Republican Party.

By the end of that year I decided to join the College Republican group on campus and become more involved. It was a great experience and I was excited to be involved in college politics. I was with the group for about two years and things were going great; I had written a few uncontroversial topics for the Gleaner, the Rutgers-Camden newspaper. It wasn’t until they asked me to write another article on my thoughts of the 2012 election that things started to really heat up.

By 2010, I had become even more involved in the liberty movement and had serious concerns over the direction of the country and the Republican Party. I decided to write an article titled “Obama is Bush 2.0” The CR chapter president was very upset over my distaste for the policies of George Bush and threatened to kick me out of the group if I submitted the article. I decided to stick to my beliefs and principles and submitted the article. The president went ahead and put an “editor’s note” at the bottom of the article stating that the article was not on behalf of the College Republicans.

As I left the group, another student and I started a chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. It was the best decision I had ever made. We reached out to thousands of students on campus, talking about the ideas of limited government, civil liberties, and peace. We grew the group to more than 15 active members by the first year.

I became the NJ State Chairman of Young Americans for Liberty and just months after graduating from Rutgers, I volunteered with “Youth for Ron Paul” in New Hampshire of 2012. I knew then that I wanted to work in politics and dedicate my career to advancing liberty. After a couple of weeks in New Hampshire, I sold my truck so I could pay a few month’s rent in Washington and took an internship at FreedomWorks. That internship turned into a full-time job and I worked for FreedomWorks for two years.

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I now work at Generation Opportunity as the Virginia State Director. We advance the ideas of free markets and civil liberties — educating young adults about youth unemployment, student loans, government spying, and other economic issues driven by our passion for liberty and the well-being of our generation. Going with my heart and majoring in something that I grew to deeply care about was easily the best decision I have ever made and although it has its ups and downs, working to advance liberty has been incredibly rewarding and I am excited to see what the movement brings us in the near future.

Jeff Scully is the Virginia State Director for Generation Opportunity. Generation Opportunity (GenOpp) is a free-thinking, liberty-loving, national organization of young people promoting the best of America: opportunity, creativity, and freedom. Gen Opp educates and mobilizes young American’s that are dedicated to winning the future for liberty focusing primarily on advancing economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties.

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