Politician discusses career


Lilly Quesnel, War Cry Staff

Toni Anne Dashiell has been heavily involved in grassroots advocacy, leadership training, and politics for over 50 years. Her work in these areas has earned her the position of Republican National Committeewoman. In light of our career themed week here at Tuloso-Midway High school, we asked her for an inside look into a career in politics.

What inspired you to go into politics?

Because somebody asked, and because I cared about my community and had dialogue with my family. I felt like I could make a difference, and I did it as a teenager too. Just being in the know and understanding how our communities work intrigued me.

What did it take for you to become a Republican National Committeewoman?

A lot of hard work, being out among the grass roots, going across the nation and going across the state and engaging people and encouraging them to be the best they could be and knowing that they had access to me, that I would talk with them and I would take their concerns to the national level and I would communicate back what the national level said to the grass roots.

What are some of your proudest achievements?

Being able to train women overseas, in areas where women are not looked upon as equals, and to empower them so when I went with women democracy network (WDN), and was able to go to these countries that was huge. To coauthor a book with Rachel Woods, I never thought that I would be a person that would be an author, and so that was fabulous. Those are some pretty big ones, but being a committeewoman for the national convention, that is a huge honor because it wasn’t just our national committee person, he had to go get approved from the president, so they discussed me in the White House saying this is who we want to be the chairwoman.

Can you further explain the training you did overseas?

My very first one, which was in Bosnia, I had three days and I was the only trainer and I trained on leadership development, teaching how to be a great leader, but also on campaign activities and how to run a campaign. It was like a day and a half on each topic and giving details and having scenarios and exercises so they could interact and not just have to listen to me. Campaign activities is very important so you run a good campaign and you’re reaching out and touching the people. It’s important to have the full picture of how a campaign runs.

What’s something you would say to young aspiring politicians?

My theme is listen, learn, and leap, and so I would listen to the people, I would learn from them, and I would take the leap and engage in conversation. What better way is there than to listen to someone, hear what they’re saying, not just what you would agree with, but what other people are saying, and then take the leap and go to the next level and try to help your community and find your passion. Whatever your passion is, really delve into it and try to decide how much you want to do and can you make a difference on the local level, national, state. Just really have a passion that you love and take it by the horns.