Brandon Howard of Dalton is preparing for his presidential campaign — for 2024.

The 2004 graduate of Southeast Whitfield High School recently spent a semester interning for U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in Washington.

“This has opened so many doors for me that I didn’t think were possible,” said Howard. “It has allowed me to experience the world firsthand and has given me the opportunity to change it.”

Howard is a political science major at Emory University and recently completed two years at Dalton State College. He spent the spring semester helping Kerry research legislation.

“I worked on research for bills that Kerry will eventually introduce,” he said. “I spent a lot of time looking up airport security, especially carry-on regulations. The bills haven’t been named yet, but they are meant to improve public safety.”

Howard applied for the internship through The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), a nonprofit organization founded to help teach students about freedom, democracy and free market economies. TFAS is a program through Georgetown University.

“I saw TFAS on the Internet,” Howard said. “I applied to TFAS and to all of the senators’ offices. Kerry’s office actually responded. I was surprised, because he is such a high-profile senator. But I jumped on the chance when I found out.”

Howard lived behind the Supreme Court building and the Capitol and took classes at Georgetown. He received a $4,000 scholarship toward expenses.

“Georgetown was great,” he said. “I took a constitutional law class, and economics and public policy.”

Howard also spent time meeting other political leaders, including Sens. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

“This program introduced me to a lot of influential people that I am still in contact with,” said Howard.

Howard completed an application and essay for admission. There were 24 other students involved in this spring’s program.

“It was great,” he said. “I got to meet people from all over the country and all over the world. My roommate was from the Czech Republic.”

Howard says his interest in politics developed during the 2004 presidential election.

“I really want to run for office someday,” he said. “I’ve decided to work hard at Emory and try to get into an Ivy-league law school to concentrate on constitutional law.”

But Howard says law school will simply be the vehicle for his political ambitions.

“I’d kind of like to run for president someday — maybe in 2024.”

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