China Gum works as the president of Inside Baseball Public Affairs, a political consulting firm that gives advice on fundraising and campaigning, track legislation and lobbying and banks on insider information. Gum, 36, launched the organization a year ago, but before that she worked as the political director for the state Republican Party and ran legislative races for Congressman Raúl Labrador and most recently Russ Fulcher.

China Gum

Age: 36 #politcalanimal is a feature of the TBR 5 Midterm Election issue. For an overview, see Miller.
Affiliations: Idaho Republican Party
Education: Boise State University, Women’s Campaign School at Yale
Occupation: President, Inside Baseball Public Affairs

What moment led you to become politically aware?

It was September 11. I was in college. I had tried to contact the College Republicans before that and join their club, but I could never reach them. But when Sept. 11 happened, I renewed that effort and got involved in the club and we were really active on campus at Boise State. Then the Republican Party recruited me out of college. My degree is actually in health sciences. I never planned to work in politics.

Who were your influences?

I’ve picked up a couple of female mentors. One of them, her name is Nancy Bocskor. She works on both sides of the aisle and in between, too. She’s known around the world, even spent time in Iraq helping women run for office.

Why do you stay involved?

I ask myself that all the time. But I really, really, truly care about the future of Idaho and I have young kids, and I really worry about the direction that our state is headed. I won’t take candidates if I don’t believe in them. There isn’t really anyone my age still running campaigns like I do, and I do it because I really believe in my candidates.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.