For over 25 years, I’ve had the distinct honor of working for both Duncan Hunters. I started with Duncan L. right out of college, an opportunity to work for my own Congressman on issues I cared about. What started as an internship, culminated into a career of service.
When Duncan D. won the seat, my responsibilities reached new levels, allowing me both to grow and to lead. As a boss, Congressman Hunter recognized the value of different perspectives, bringing me into the decision-making process and tasking me with carrying out what needed to be done. We didn’t agree on everything. He was 100% right about Trump’s electability, I was 100% wrong. But any criticism was short-lived, the only expectation was hard work. His confidence in me was my motivation to excel.
Congressman Hunter matched our district with a consistent voting record that was the epitome of staunch conservatism. National security, enforcing the border, defending those in uniform, protecting the unborn, upholding the 2nd Amendment, cutting taxes, eliminating federal regulations, advocating property rights, promoting small business growth, this was the norm, not the exception. There was no self-aggrandizing about making tough decisions, the Hunter Standard was to unapologetically do what was right for America, regardless of the political consequences.
This record was coupled with tireless advocacy. Helping SEAL Chief Gallagher, keeping Qualcomm in San Diego, those were headline issues but there are literally thousands of others. Congressman Hunter’s approach was beyond providing assistance, it was finding out what more could be done, never taking no for an answer, challenging the system and changing it if need be.
Duncan brought these same qualities to me as a friend. When I ran for State Assembly, he answered yes to everything asked of him, anything to be helpful. He was equally supportive when I made the difficult decision to suspend that effort, encouraging me without hesitation that it is never wrong to put family first. It is Duncan who taught me that difficult circumstances are what reveal our character.
Soon, I will no longer be working for Duncan Hunter. While I knew there would come a time when I would be making that statement, having it become reality is surreal and those words are strange to hear. As much as Duncan believed in me, I believe in him. I am absolutely confident that the same character that led him to volunteer for combat in the Marine Corps after 9/11 and to dedicate himself to public service is this same character that will propel Duncan after Congress.
I stand by my boss, I stand by my friend. I will always be indebted to Duncan Hunter and I will always be thankful to have served by his side.
Mike Harrison is Congressman Hunter’s District Chief of Staff.