Michael Gallagher '02

MDHS: You were a member of ASB at Mater Dei for 4 years finishing up as ASB President, how did your experience in student government have an impact on your decision to pursue an elected position and a career in public service?


MG: My family, and my MD family, taught me from a young age that there was no higher calling than service—we all have some small gift that can be used for the good of the community and the country. And I think we have a duty as citizens to leave the country and our own community a little bit better off than how we found it. No one is going to do it for us. That’s what compelled me to join the Marine Corps when I graduated college and that’s why I feel compelled to step up and serve again today. 


MDHS: What and whom were some of your biggest influences at Mater Dei on your path to public service?


MG: All of my teachers had a profound impact on me. Mrs. Eagan, for example, really taught me how to write. And I’ve found in my professional career that if you cannot write clearly than you cannot think clearly, and you will not be able to communicate clearly as a leader. Mrs. Rollinson endowed me with a love for history and set me on a path to earning a Ph.D. with a focus on Cold War history. I think it’s absolutely critical for leaders in any industry to have a healthy appetite for history. History may not repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes and offers us enduring lessons. I was also fortunate enough my senior year to meet Juan Zarate ’89 when he was inducted into MD’s Ring of Honor. Juan is a hero of mine, and he has since become my greatest mentor and a great friend. He has helped me at every critical juncture in my career and I owe him an enormous debt (the country owes him an enormous debt—he has worked tirelessly to keep us safe).


MDHS: What are you political aspirations moving forward? Where do you think your career in public service will take you?


MG: I never thought I would be running for Congress in the first place. I'm looking to make a difference here and now and where I serve.  I don't have aspirations beyond being the most effective, most informed, and hardest working member of congress I can be. I find that too many people in public office are seeking titles, praise, or some form of celebrity instead of putting the time in to simply do the work that needs doing. We've got tough challenges facing our nation today, incredibly tough challenges, I hope to make a difference and leave our nation better off.


MDHS: As a leader and a decision maker, what are your Congressional goals for your state and the people of Wisconsin?


MG: To restore our country’s strength: our economic strength, our military strength, and the strength that stems from our support and defense of the constitution. Unfortunately, we have allowed government to creep more and more into our daily lives, which not only threatens the constitutional liberties we have fought and bled for, but also undermines the true source of our strength—our communities, our families, and all the spaces government cannot and was not designed to fill. My hope is that if we can start to turn the tide, that if we can start to solve problems rather than punting them to the next generation (i.e. my generation), we can also start to restore within that generation a sense of civic duty, of service to country.


MDHS: What advice do you have for the current Monarchs as they prepare to move onto college and eventually to the real world?


MG: First, be brilliant in the basics. You’re going to be exposed to a lot in college and the real world, and that’s wonderful. But stay focused on the essentials—reading critically, writing clearly, working well with others, and mastering one or two functional skills (i.e. languages or technical skills). Mastery of the basics will allow you to survive in any environment under any circumstances. Second, as we’d say in the Marine Corps, “ride to the sound of the guns.” Go where the action is. Get out into the world (most of which doesn’t look like MD), and earn some street cred. You don’t want to seek safe spaces--you want to get outside your intellectual (and often physical) comfort zone. That’s how you grow. Third, and most importantly, as you do this you’re going to fail… a lot. It’s what we do as humans. But then you’ll be reminded of what really matters in life: God, family, and friends. Without these, you’re rudderless, and you’ll just continually get blown of course. But build your life on that foundation, and you’ll be prepared for anything. For example, it’s not on my resume, but I count among my greatest accomplishments in life being Mike Hellbusch’s (MD ’02) best man and officiating Jenny Senske’s (MD ’02) wedding. These are people I met freshmen year, and they’re what truly matters to me in life.


To learn more about Michael and his campaign, CLICK HERE!