McCain Alumni Club

MAC logo

The McCain Alumni Club welcomes all “McCainiacs”. To be a member, you could have served under Senator McCain on the Hill; worked on one of his congressional or presidential campaigns; volunteered; picked up a cappuccino or two along the way; laughed at the same old joke at least three times; ridden the Straight Talk Express; checked into his Hotel California; or worked with him to advance one of the many causes he championed.

The McCain Alumni Club welcomes members who make a gift of $250 or more a year. Your alumni gift will help support the McCain Institute for International Leadership and its efforts to preserve and maintain Senator McCain’s legacy.

Benefits

  • Prominent listing on the McCain Institute website
  • Invitation to Annual McCain Alumni Club Receptions (will include Phoenix and Washington, DC)
  • Opportunity to vote annually on which programs within the McCain Institute the McCain Alumni Club raised funds will be allocated
  • Invitation to submit nominations for McCain Institute awards (Award for Courage and Leadership, In The Arena Award)
  • Limited-edition “McCainiac” apparel (one-time benefit)
  • Advance notice of upcoming special events and programs
  • Reserved seating at the McCain Institute’s events

For more information about the McCain Alumni Club please contact us at: [email protected]

MAC Members

Names of MAC members
  • Alex Milliken
  • Ann Marie Milano
  • Anna Eliasson Schamis
  • Anne Medina-Doak
  • Ashley Bunch
  • Becki Donatelli *
  • Bill McLaughlin
  • Blair Giannini
  • Bob Delgado
  • Bob Heckman
  • Bob Worsley
  • Brett O’Donnell
  • Brandon Sellers
  • Brian Haley
  • Brian Schmitt
  • Buzz Jacobs
  • Carla Eudy
  • Cheryl L. Lombard
  • Chris Koch
  • Chris Paul
  • Christian Ferry
  • Christopher H. Fidler
  • Corey Vale
  • Craig Goldman
  • Craig Turk
  • Crystal Benton Burnett
  • Dan Crippen
  • Dana W. White
  • Daniel McKivergan
  • Danny Mazza
  • Dave McIntyre
  • David Boyajian
  • David Hume Kennerly
  • David Krahn
  • David W. Sonntag
  • David Welch
  • Davis White
  • Deb Gullett
  • Derby Watkins
  • Eric Pahls
  • Erika Schupak Neuberg
  • Eugene Giannini
  • Frances Prenn
  • Frank J. Donatelli
  • Fred S. Zeidman
  • Gabee Lepore
  • Gahl Hodges Burt
  • George Weisz *
  • Gibson McKay *
  • Greg Kelly
  • Greg Maffei *
  • Gwendolyn van Paasschen *
  • Hedayat Mostowfi
  • Hilary Halpern
  • J. Peter Donald
  • Jackie Norton
  • James Armstrong
  • James G. Lynch
  • Jana Pierce
  • Jane Mosbacher Morris
  • Jay Bynum
  • Jennifer Lux *
  • Jim Burke
  • Jim Durkin
  • Jim Goff
  • John F. Lehman III
  • John Kaites
  • John Raidt
  • Jon Seaton
  • Julie Rushing
  • Kathleen M. Shanahan
  • Kirstin Walker Tully
  • Laura R. Bridge
  • Leah von Schaumburg
  • Lisa Ashford-Kilani
  • Lisa Graham Keegan
  • Lorna Romero
  • Luke A. Knittig
  • Magda Patrick
  • Matt Kenney
  • Matt Lampert
  • Micah Murphy
  • Michelle Gramley Kauk
  • Michelle Shipley
  • Mike Dew
  • Mike Reynold
  • Mike Sistak
  • Nancy Ives
  • Niki Christoff *
  • Omar Hossino
  • Pablo Chavez
  • Paul Lindsay
  • Paulie Hickman
  • Pia Pialorsi
  • Randy Scheunemann
  • Rebecca Fisher
  • Richard B. Levin
  • Rob Egan
  • Rob Taylor
  • Robert Fisher
  • Ron Ober
  • Ryan O’Daniel
  • Ryan Price
  • Ryuk J. Byun, M.D.
  • Sally Harrison
  • Sam LaHood
  • Samuel LeDoux
  • Scott Celley
  • Scott Eisner
  • Simon Latcovich
  • Soren Dayton
  • Steve Betts *
  • Steve Duprey *
  • Steve Johnston *
  • Suzanne Hernandez
  • Tim Tripepi
  • Tom Faust
  • Travis Larson
  • Vinh Nguyen
  • Virg Pounds
  • Warren Whitney
  • Wes Gullett
  • Whitney Clark Fahmi
  • William Ball
  • Wolfgang Pordzik

* = Lifetime Member

Memories with the Senator

Don Brandt and Senator McCain with the media

Don Brandt

Friend and CEO Emeritus Arizona Public Service Company
I had the honor and privilege to know John and to call him a dear friend.  Clearly, he was a leader and a statesman in every sense.  But I don’t believe many people fully appreciated his humor and compassion. My favorite photo of the two of us was at a meeting with media about a week before Veteran’s Day 2014.  I was hosting an outdoor event in downtown Phoenix to honor the Grand Marshalls that would preside over the Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade the following week.
 
Don Brandt and Senator McCain with the media

Don Brandt

Friend and CEO Emeritus Arizona Public Service Company
I had the honor and privilege to know John and to call him a dear friend.  Clearly, he was a leader and a statesman in every sense.  But I don’t believe many people fully appreciated his humor and compassion. My favorite photo of the two of us was at a meeting with media about a week before Veteran’s Day 2014.  I was hosting an outdoor event in downtown Phoenix to honor the Grand Marshalls that would preside over the Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade the following week.  I invited Senator McCain to speak at this event.  Afterwards, he and I were taking questions from media, most of which focused on what veterans have done for our nation.  One reporter foisted a mike in my face and asked a truly obnoxious question.  While just the two of us walked away, Senator McCain counseled me, “If he ever does that again tell him to [go dance with himself].  He wouldn’t know how to respond, and your PR people would go nuts. You’d have fun.” I was in stitches! The other photo is of Senator McCain on August 27, 2016, in Prescott, Ariz., speaking at the dedication of a playground to honor Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian aid worker who had been taken hostage, tortured and murdered by ISIS in Syria earlier that year.  Senator McCain had worked tirelessly with her family and others to attempt to free Kayla.  During his remarks, tears ran down his cheeks, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.  Everyone knew his words were straight from his heart.  My favorite passage from his remarks: “Kayla’s life had meaning, and its meaning was more powerful than all the cruelty inflicted on all the innocent victims on earth.  Kayla’s meaning was love.  We should do justice.  But we should also honor her as she would have wished us to honor her, by loving more bravely.  That was the way she chose.  And the more of us who choose it, the more powerfully we strike at evil.” — Don Brandt, Friend and CEO Emeritus Arizona Public Service Company

Paul Hickman

McCain Volunteer, Intern, Staffer, Bag Carrier, Fan & Groupie

Several years ago, my wife asked me if I could arrange a photo-op for her grandfather, Frank Holm, with Senator McCain. Her grandfather was also a Navy veteran and contemporaneous in age with John. My good friend, and John’s State Director at the time, Michelle Shipley, was kind enough to get us in. We arrived several minutes early and were watching a TV crew that had just done an interview pick up their equipment. John came out and saw us, scowled at me, and motioned us in with a swift below-the-shoulder hand gesture most veterans of his staff recognized as short-hand for ‘C’mon, let’s get this going!’

 

Paul Hickman with Senator McCain

Paul Hickman

McCain Volunteer, Intern, Staffer, Bag Carrier, Fan & Groupie

Several years ago, my wife asked me if I could arrange a photo-op for her grandfather, Frank Holm, with Senator McCain.  Her grandfather was also a Navy veteran and contemporaneous in age with John.  My good friend, and John’s State Director at the time, Michelle Shipley, was kind enough to get us in.

We arrived several minutes early and were watching a TV crew that had just done an interview pick up their equipment.  John came out and saw us, scowled at me, and motioned us in with a swift below-the-shoulder hand gesture most veterans of his staff recognized as short-hand for ‘C’mon, let’s get this going!’

I did a brief introduction of my grandfather-in-law mentioning that he was from Huntsville, Alabama, a Korean War Navy veteran, an electrical engineer who worked on the Saturn V program for NASA in the ‘60s — followed by a nearly 25-year career with the Tennessee Valley Authority.  John did the picture; and as I was expecting an expedited parting, he said “Can you guys come back in here and talk for a few minutes?”

Given his typical frenetic schedule and general tempo I was a bit surprised, but happy to have the opportunity to catch up.  The three of us spent the next better-part-of-an-hour alone in the Senator’s Phoenix, Arizona office conference-room with Senator John McCain interviewing my wife’s grandfather about what he did in the Navy, his work on the Saturn V missile program in Huntsville, and his career at the TVA.

At one point I remember the gentleman-visitor saying something to the effect of ‘Wow, thanks for your interest!  I just came in for an introduction and a picture.  I wanted to tell you how much I admire you in spite of our different political persuasions.’  He clearly appreciated the Senator’s interest in him and was touched by the time he was willing to spend with another old Navy hand.

To me this encounter exemplifies why we all loved working for John Sidney McCain III; and living in the environment he created.  It reminded me that he had a life very rich in experience outside of national politics.  It also once again reminded me that he understood, appreciated, and loved America.  Finally, it reminded me why America loved him so much.  Why tens of thousands of people waited outside all day in the muggy, Washington, D.C., heat to pay their respects to him lying in state in the capitol rotunda in late August of 2018.

I am so proud to have been able to serve an American hero and a living legend for the better half of my adult life.  I am also extremely grateful for all the wonderful people I met along the way — and the relationships I will be enriched by from that experience for the rest of my life.

Thank you John.  You have given so many so much.

And thank you Cindy, for creating this Alumni Club and keeping the McCain Institute alive and kicking.  I know we will use it to further John’s abiding philosophy to sacrifice for something greater than our own self-interests.

— Paul Hickman, McCain Volunteer, Intern, Low-Level Staffer, Bag Carrier, Fan & Groupie (officially 1991 to 2010, unofficially 2011 to present)

Paul Hickman with Senator McCain

J. Peter Donald

Advance, 2008 Presidential Campaign

The Straight Talk Express arrived at Broad Street Elementary School, a polling location, in Nashua, New Hampshire on the state’s primary in January 2008. The energy and excitement were palpable. As Senator McCain descended from a campaign bus, he was surrounded by reporters in a scene that felt more like a rock concert than a polling place. Hoping to ask the underdog candidate a question, David Brooks, Robert Novak and hundreds of reporters enveloped him.

McCain’s candidacy was declared over by pundits and reporters several months earlier. McCain did what he did best. He put his head down and went back to work. He outworked every other candidate in the race, storming the state to talk to whoever would give him the time of day.

 

J. Peter Donald

Advance, 2008 Presidential Campaign

The Straight Talk Express arrived at Broad Street Elementary School, a polling location, in Nashua, New Hampshire on the state’s primary in January 2008. The energy and excitement were palpable. As Senator McCain descended from a campaign bus, he was surrounded by reporters in a scene that felt more like a rock concert than a polling place. Hoping to ask the underdog candidate a question, David Brooks, Robert Novak and hundreds of reporters enveloped him.

McCain’s candidacy was declared over by pundits and reporters several months earlier. McCain did what he did best. He put his head down and went back to work. He outworked every other candidate in the race, storming the state to talk to whoever would give him the time of day.

Later in that January 2008 evening, supporters gathered. Excitement grew. Something was happening. As news outlets called the race for Senator McCain, the crowd became electrified. New Hampshire fueled the come-from-behind win that catapulted the Senator back to the front of the presidential race.

Mac was back.

He never looked back.

I was reminded then—as I am today—that the Senator consistently, even routinely, defied the odds. If he could normalize the relationship with his captors, a campaign, a crucial piece of legislation or an extended foreign trip were routine.

The Senator could be behind or even dead last. He was never out. McCain’s underdog status created an unusual, bullish optimism for anyone who worked for him. It powered his team to tackle the toughest challenges. While working for the Senator anything felt possible—because it was possible.

An excerpt  from Senator McCain’s election night speech on January 8, 2008:

“Thank you, New Hampshire, from the bottom of my heart. I’m grateful and humbled and more certain than ever before that, before I can win your vote, I must win your respect. And I must do that by being honest with you and then put my trust in your fairness and good judgment…

…But let us remember — let us remember that our purpose is not ours alone. Our success is not an end in itself.

America is our cause, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

— J. Peter Donald, Advance, 2008 Presidential Campaign

Robert and Rebecca Fisher

Former Presidential Campaign Staffers

Rebecca and I had the pleasure of working for John for many years. I started working for him in 1997 in the Phoenix office and Rebecca started working for him in 1999 in the Presidential campaign office in Virginia. The thrill of being part of a Presidential campaign was exciting for both of us. Being a young staffer in your 20’s and totally immersed in politics, it is a dream to be part of something so big and impactful.

 

Fisher Family Portrait

Robert and Rebecca Fisher

Former Presidential Campaign Staffers

I was fortunate enough to travel with John as he campaigned all throughout the West coast. I would often hit the road with him and drive him to interviews, fundraisers, and many of his infamous town halls. Rebecca was part of the campaign press team and was also on the road with John as part of the Straight Talk Express. I would see Rebecca when we were both on the road. She was smart, fun, easy-going and beautiful. Over time, we got to know one another and spend time together on the campaign trail.

After successful wins during the 2000 primary in New Hampshire, Michigan and Arizona, we lost a majority of states on Super Tuesday. Those of us on the road with John ended up in Sedona while he was at his ranch contemplating if he would continue the race. He ultimately decided to suspend his campaign in March of 2000 and, immediately after that, everyone from the campaign was headed back to DC on the final flight of the campaign plane. Rebecca was headed back to DC and I felt I had no choice but to get on the plane and follow her to DC. I figured this was my only shot. Mark Salter was kind enough to allow me to catch a ride back to DC and work out of the DC office for a few days (I never told him exactly why I wanted to go back to DC, so thank you Mark!). That decision and plane ride back was the best decision I have ever made!

Eventually I had to go back to Arizona, but Rebecca and I continued our relationship working for John on different sides of the country. I finally called John’s Legislative Director at the time, Ann Sauer, and told her that I wanted to move to DC and work for John. Ann told me to move out to DC and they would figure out something for me (thank you Ann!). They found a position for me working on the Telecom Subcommittee on the Senate Commerce Committee where John was Chairman of the Committee. Rebecca had also recently started a job as John’s Press Secretary in the personal office. Things had finally come together!

As any good McCain alum knows, John loved any good gossip. He would often say, “What do you know?” All of us would be ready to brief him and maybe add in some gossip if we had heard anything good. After listing a litany of things to tell him, John would always ask, “What else?” We would say, “that’s it.” His response? “So, you know nothing.” Always a classic line. Well, John heard the gossip that Rebecca and I were dating. When I would come over to the personal office for a meeting with him or drop something off, he would tease both of us. It was always entertaining or highly annoying depending on how much he was teasing you!

Years after I had left the office, I used every bit of vacation time I had in my private sector job to volunteer and travel with John on the Presidential campaign in 2008. Once again, it was one of the best and most memorable times in my life. I spent weeks campaigning in Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. All of us know about the comeback that he made to win the GOP nomination that year. Simply amazing and unlikely to be matched in my lifetime. During my first trip to Iowa when we had no money in the bank, it would be just me, John, and usually one other person in the car going from town hall to town hall. Those moments were unforgettable now and the memories will stay with me forever. We would have amazing conversations during our time together and he would always ask how Rebecca was doing (she had left the office and went to work at the Federal Communications Commission and for a couple of other Senators)

After the 2008 campaign, John ran for reelection in 2010. I would see him often at different events around DC. He would always tease various former staffers who attended these events and give them a hard time. With me, John would tell people, “There’s Robert Fisher over there. If it weren’t for me, he would be single, miserable, lonely and have no children!” No truer words were ever spoken!

Rebecca and I will never be able to express the great honor and privilege it was to work for John. He taught us so many lessons of life, service to your country, honor and commitment. While Rebecca and I were only very small spoke in the McCain wheel, he truly left a stamp on our lives and the memories will last a lifetime. We are not only grateful for the opportunities he gave us, but in a variety of ways, the role he played in bringing Rebecca and I together. He will remain in our hearts forever and our children Savannah and Cole are especially happy about this entire story!

As John would say about us McCainiacs, “It’s like the Hotel California, you can always check in, but you can’t check out!”

— Robert Fisher, Former Presidential Campaign Staffer

Fisher Family Portrait
Jim Goff

Jim Goff

Midwest Regions Coalitions Director, 2008
At the time this photo was taken, I was a full-time volunteer on the 2007-2008 presidential campaign.  This was at the lowest point in our effort, when the campaign had abruptly run out of money and the pundits were speculating daily on when the Senator would quit the race.
 
Jim Goff

Jim Goff

Midwest Regions Coalitions Director, 2008

At the time this photo was taken, I was a full-time volunteer on the 2007-2008 presidential campaign.  This was at the lowest point in our effort, when the campaign had abruptly run out of money and the pundits were speculating daily on when the Senator would quit the race.

He had come to Des Moines to try and hold the campaign together, encouraging volunteers and staff not to give up or jump to one of his GOP rival’s organizations.  If this wasn’t the low point of the Senator’s political career, it was certainly one of them. Being a political novice at the time, I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation; if I had, I might not have decided to test his legendary sense of humor.

I had a young nephew here in Iowa who hadn’t yet made up his mind on which candidate he would caucus for, and who also doubted that I had actually met McCain several times since joining his organization. So as we were all milling about the office after the Senator had delivered his pep talk, I called my nephew on my cell phone; then I said to McCain, “Senator, I have an undecided Iowa voter on the line; it’s my nephew.” McCain’s eyes immediately lit up, and a mischievous grin spread across his face. Eagerly he reached for my phone, asking me, “What’s his name?”

“His name is Scott” I replied.

McCain raised my phone to his ear, and in a mock serious tone, he said , “Scott, this is John McCain. Vote for me, or tomorrow, you’re gonna find your car up on blocks!”

And without missing a beat, he handed the phone back to me. I don’t know if the car-up-on-blocks quip was one of his frequently recycled jokes or not; what I do know is that even at the lowest point of his second race for president, the Senator never lost his wit or sense of fun.

Although I had the privilege of spending a little time with John McCain on only a few occasions, he made such an impression on me that I know I will miss him always.

Alex Milliken

Former Southern Arizona Field Director and Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

“The Maverick is Back”

The Senate has an old tradition of pitting offices against each other in America’s second favorite past time, softball. McCain alumni before my time will remember the glory days of the 1990’s -2000’s and winning multiple championships. This story however is not about those glory days. By the time I started working for Senator McCain the softball team had been disbanded for at least a decade. When we wanted to bring the team back we needed his approval, which after some reluctance he gave. The staff in our gleeful excitement immediately started brainstorming names, some ridiculous, some topical of the times, we eventually landed on the very unique “Mavericks”.

 

Alex Milliken

Alex Milliken

Former Southern Arizona Field Director and Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

“The Maverick is Back”

The Senate has an old tradition of pitting offices against each other in America’s second favorite past time, softball. McCain alumni before my time will remember the glory days of the 1990’s -2000’s and winning multiple championships. This story however is not about those glory days. By the time I started working for Senator McCain the softball team had been disbanded for at least a decade. When we wanted to bring the team back we needed his approval, which after some reluctance he gave. The staff in our gleeful excitement immediately started brainstorming names, some ridiculous, some topical of the times, we eventually landed on the very unique “Mavericks”. We won our first game that year which gave some of us (me) a bit too much confidence, and as you can imagine the competitive talk between offices was in full affect. The second game was a devastating loss, which was announced to the senator on the floor during a vote by one of his colleagues. We strung together a few more wins for the year but the true highlight of that season was presenting a Mavericks jersey to Senator McCain on the day he returned to the senate to place his historic healthcare vote.

As you all know Senator McCain was not shy about bucking his party when he felt they were headed down the wrong path. He was a true statesman and dedicated his life to the concept of “Country First”. He worked tirelessly for over 30 years to make America a stronger and safer country and his impact will be felt for generations not just in America but across the globe.

His values live on every day in the work the McCain Institute accomplishes. I am incredibly thankful to have had the honor of working for him and I look forward to seeing his work continued through the McCain Institute.

Alex Milliken
Mccain

Mike Reynold

Virginia State Director, McCain 2008
In October 2009, I had the privilege of staffing Senator McCain when he campaigned for Bob McDonnell’s successful run for Virginia Governor. As we met on the tarmac in Norfolk, I reminded Senator McCain that I served as his Virginia Campaign Manager in the 2008 presidential campaign. He waited until our entire team got into the car- including one of his POW comrades, Paul Galanti. Once we were all buckled into the SUV, he shouted out, “Mike- thanks for losing Virginia for me!” It got a big laugh.
 
Mccain

Mike Reynold

Virginia State Director, McCain 2008

In October 2009, I had the privilege of staffing Senator McCain when he campaigned for Bob McDonnell’s successful run for Virginia Governor. As we met on the tarmac in Norfolk, I reminded Senator McCain that I served as his Virginia Campaign Manager in the 2008 presidential campaign. He waited until our entire team got into the car- including one of his POW comrades, Paul Galanti. Once we were all buckled into the SUV, he shouted out, “Mike- thanks for losing Virginia for me!” It got a big laugh.

As we pulled into the event, I had to maneuver the vehicle and do a sophisticated turn to get him close to the door. There was a crowd gathering outside, and I muttered, “Aw, great. Gotta show off my race car driving skills.” Senator McCain immediately shouted out, “Mike – don’t [bleep] this up like you [bleep] up my campaign in Virginia!”

Following the event, I drove him to the local VA hospital. He wanted to pay his respects to a USNA classmate who was about to die. As I dropped him off at the door, he looked at me and the other passengers and said solemnly, “No pictures. No one needs to know about this. Keep this quiet.”

Afterwards, we made our way back to the airfield, he asked me about the McDonnell campaign and how I liked serving as a staffer. Senator McCain told me about his time working as a staffer prior to running for Congress, and he and Paul Galanti shared war stories about their time in Annapolis and as POWs in Vietnam. He asked me if I enjoyed being McDonnell’s Deputy Campaign Manager better than working on the McCain campaign. Of course, I said that there was no comparison! His last question to me was, “Tell me, Mike- how many days left till Election Day?” I gave him the number, about 10 days or so, and he replied loudly, “Well don’t [bleep] it up like you did my campaign!”

Senator McCain then took photos with our entire team and reminded us that public service was an honorable profession. He thanked me for my time on the campaign and for all we did to promote our shared principles. He even mentioned For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Above is the photo from our time on the Norfolk tarmac, and the other is a picture from the last day of the 2008 campaign (that Senator McCain signed in October 2009).

It was one of the best days of my life. I count working for Senator McCain to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. COUNTRY FIRST!

— Mike Reynold, Virginia State Director, McCain 2008

Samuel LeDoux

Northern Arizona Field Director, John McCain For Senate 2016

Senator McCain always did his best to dedicate his time and energy to help inspire young people who were getting involved civically to keep doing so. As someone who has worked on many political campaigns working on the Senator’s 2016 campaign was an honor and it showed me just how impressive his character was. Every week we were asked to send the names of campaign interns and volunteers who went above and beyond and that the Senator would call them and thank them personally.

 

SAMUEL LEDOUX with McCain

Samuel LeDoux

Northern Arizona Field Director, John McCain For Senate 2016

Senator McCain always did his best to dedicate his time and energy to help inspire young people who were getting involved civically to keep doing so. As someone who has worked on many political campaigns working on the Senator’s 2016 campaign was an honor and it showed me just how impressive his character was. Every week we were asked to send the names of campaign interns and volunteers who went above and beyond and that the Senator would call them and thank them personally. He took more time and effort to mentor and interact with his interns than I’ve seen any candidate do. He got to know them, and many of those interns still tell me today how special of an experience that was, many of them are still involved in politics to this day. The McCain Institute continues to further this legacy of inspiring our next generation of leaders and that’s why I as a proud McCain Alumni Club member support it.

– Samuel LeDoux, Northern Arizona Field Director, John McCain for Senate 2016

SAMUEL LEDOUX with McCain
Mac Nancy

Nancy Ives

Senator McCain’s Press Secretary and Communications Director, 1996-2002
Given his voracious appetite for history, it was surprising to no one that when John became chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee in 1997, his first order of business was to request that the photos or renderings of the more than 50 preceding Committee chairmen be unearthed from the bowels of the Russell Building, framed and hung in chronological order on the walls of the Committee hearing room.
 
Mac Nancy

Nancy Ives

Senator McCain’s Press Secretary and Communications Director, 1996-2002

Given his voracious appetite for history, it was surprising to no one that when John became chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee in 1997, his first order of business was to request that the photos or renderings of the more than 50 preceding Committee chairmen be unearthed from the bowels of the Russell Building, framed and hung in chronological order on the walls of the Committee hearing room.

John’s eyes would gleam mischievously whenever he frequently walked reporters, constituents and, frankly, anyone with a heartbeat and two ears, down the marble hallway from 241 Russell to the hearing room. Once inside, he would point at the perfectly lined portraits and photos and say, “Remember this guy? No? Well, what about him? These guys thought they were a really big deal.” His point was that personal prestige, vanity and individual glory is fleeting; what really counts and is noticed and remembered are the values and causes one stood for in life. And, now, the McCain Alumni Group will help to ensure the lesson that meant so much to John is carried on for future generations.

I joined the McCain Alumni Group to support and honor John’s enduring legacy and fundamental personal life lessons he instilled in all of us, about the importance of pursuing causes greater than one’s own self-interest for the betterment of society. As we once again board the Straight Talk Express, I’m looking forward to sharing stories, both funny and serious, along with other cherished memories, of the time we spent with the Old Geezer —I’m sure he wouldn’t want it any other way.

— Nancy Ives, Senator McCain’s Press Secretary and Communications Director, 1996-2002