Life in politics

Chris McNulty ’92 wants to make America better

By Andrea Semrau ’14

As far back as Chris McNulty ’92 can remember, he has been surrounded by politics. His grandfather, Patrick McNulty ’41, kept a picture of President Ronald Reagan, who was McNulty’s initial inspiration, in his wallet. He was a decade old when Reagan was first elected.

“Even as a 10-year-old, I remember Reagan had this great view of what America was and could be,” Chris McNulty says.

Recently, the political science and economics major has been promoted to political director of the Republican National Committee. Previously, he worked as the deputy executive director in the political office of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio).

Choosing to attend John Carroll was somewhat predestined because McNulty’s grandfather and father, Jim McNulty ’67, D.D.S., attended Carroll. A baby picture of McNulty holding a John Carroll football hung in his grandfather’s office throughout his childhood. When he toured the campus, the atmosphere just felt right. He knew Carroll would be a good place to learn and enjoy himself, which McNulty believes is an ideal combination in a learning environment. JCU graduates also had a solid reputation, many of whom are willing to help others and give Carroll students a leg up. He wanted to be a part of that.


As McNulty grew older, he learned more about the political parties. The more he learned about the Republican Party, the more he liked and the more he became passionate about it. People have a generally negative view about politics, McNulty believes, so he wanted to become a part of a solution to make America better.

McNulty began his political career volunteering for Judge Thomas Janas’ campaign in Lorain County, Ohio. He was drawn to the judge because it was a challenge. Judge Janas was running in a predominantly Democratic county, and because it was a small campaign, a volunteer could make a big impact.

Political life is constantly changing and evolving – no one day is the same. To have a career in politics, one has to like people, engage them, and appreciate them. However, there are aspects of political life McNulty doesn’t like, mostly the perception of politicians. It’s common for media to portray a politician who uses a poor choice of words or makes a mistake in some other way in a negative light, and that ends up being most of what the public sees. Working for the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party are similar, the RNC is just on a larger scale.

Although McNulty is enjoying his time on Capitol Hill, he doesn’t plan on being there forever. Ultimately, he’d like to move back to Ohio and remain in politics.

“My biggest goal is to provide a good environment for my kids to grow up in,” he says.

In addition to having a bustling career, McNulty’s family life is busy. He has two young children – Rocco, 3, and Clare, 1 – and his wife, Jenna, helps out with the kids whenever he can’t be there. The transition from the Midwest to northern Virginia has been a difficult adjustment because Ohio and Washington, D.C., are quite different. Although McNulty puts in many hours at work, he gets home as soon as he can to play with his children.

McNulty works closely with another Carroll alum, Andrea Bozek ’05, who’s the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“There are a lot of John Carroll alumni in and around the political world, a niche with a growing number,” he says. JCU

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