David Dreier is a CMC and CGU graduate, and the very first legacy alumnus to graduate from CMC. His father was in the CMC class of ’52. He is a businessman, philanthropist, and politician who served for over 30 years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. David was one of the youngest members ever to be elected to Congress, the youngest chairman of the House of Rules Committee, and after his time in Congress, he served on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board under President Obama. He’s also an award-winning filmmaker and partner or advisor in several start-up businesses including eMed, taskmaverick, and CalypsoAI. He serves on numerous boards including Caltech, CMC, James Madison’s Montpelier, and the Los Angeles Mission Foundation. David is also the creative genius behind the term “Claremonster’’ for us 😉 and was happy to sit down and share some thoughts with BTL.
David, in 1978 you ran for the House of Representatives out of Phillips Hall at CMC in legendary fashion. While you ultimately didn’t win the seat until two years later in 1980, I’m sure there are some fun stories here. What is your favorite memory from running this campaign out of your dorm at Claremont? What was the most important learning you took from this campaign to your 1980 win?
Actually, I didn’t technically run the campaign out of Phillips Hall. I think that would have been illegal. I was, however, living in Phillips Hall when I first ran for Congress as a complete unknown. To be honest, I’m not sure that I really wanted to run until I got into it. I did always, and still do, enjoy engaging in discussions about my basic belief in the free market, less government taxation and regulation, a strong cost-effective defense, and personal freedom. I had also gotten to know Ronald Reagan over the years after arriving from my home in Kansas City and beginning as a CMC freshman. I was able to spend several Christmases with the Reagans. It was Reagan and others, including CMC’s founding President George C. S. Benson, who first encouraged me to run for Congress.