Pick a political hat, and Pam Pryor wears it…or has worn it.
Pryor is among many Oklahomans who have gone to Washington on the staff of a member of Congress and moved on to other, more national, pursuits and the resultant national prominence.
Few have made the climb as far as Pryor, who now talks to the media on behalf of potential Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin, walks the halls of power with the authority that a lot of years in Washington brings, and speaks across the country on behalf of groups like We Care America and through the White House Writers’ Group, consults with the Department of Labor, Habitat for Humanity and Convoy of Hope.
Pryor’s current national persona comes as the spokesperson for Palin’s SarahPAC, launched by the former Alaska governor as part of her coalition-building effort across the country.
A member of Palin’s team in 2008 says that Pryor today is Palin’s "go-to girl. If Sarah has a doubt about anything, she talks to Pam. If Sarah wants to do something, she talks to Pam. Pam is a solid lock in Palin’s future."
Pryor began her career as a college instructor at Point Loma College in San Diego and then at Bethany Nazarene College in Oklahoma City. Her background in media includes working as a television news reporter and anchor and hosting her own radio talk show, all in Oklahoma City.
In 1995, she joined the staff of Republican Congressman J.C. Watts, serving first as his press secretary and later as his assistant chief of staff and then as chief of staff for both his personal office and the House Republican Conference. It was her connection to Watts that launched her into prominence and cemented her reputation as a fierce defender of the congressman, and others with whom she works.
In 2001, after being responsible for all GOP House communications as head of the Republican Conference under Watts, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in Washington by Washingtonian Magazine.
After Watts’ retirement, she continued the work begun in his office on faith-based initiatives and served as vice president of government relations for We Care America. At the same time, she joined the White House Writer’s Group, a communication firm, as associate manager and she consults with clients from the Department of Labor to Convoy of Hope. She is also on the board of the Reform Institute, a centrist think tank in Alexandria, VA. She also speaks on storytelling and creative communications.
Last year, Pryor was a consultant to the Republican National Committee, where she served as a senior advisor to Frank Donatelli, the Palin Texas website reports, and adds: "…the governor must has seen a kindred spirit in Pam Pryor, who may not be a fellow Alaskan, but she is a fellow evangelical. The Pryor resume includes more than 25 years in public relations and public affairs. She has worked in the area of government relations for non-profit organizations which were formed around the faith and community-based initiative. She has experience bringing faith and community groups together with government through the initiative by grant writing and introductions to government agencies and Congress."
During last year’s presidential campaign, those in the faith community had doubts about John McCain and presidential historian, author and conservative blogger Doug Wead wrote: "Evangelicals welcomed John McCain’s meeting with Billy Graham today, but more importantly, recent appointments, such as Pam Pryor as senior adviser at the RNC, is sending their morale soaring.
"…the recent appointment of Pam Pryor as senior advisor to the RNC’s Deputy Chairman, Frank Donatelli, over at the Republican National Committee has the evangelical leadership positively smiling. Pryor, the little firecracker who served for years as administrative assistant to former Congressman J. C. Watts and later helped Dave Donaldson move Faith Based Initiatives through the Clinton Congress, (yeah, you heard me right, Clinton, not Bush, although it was called Charitable Choice,) is no outsider to the rough and tumble of Washington politics. Pryor, an evangelical who attends McLean Bible Church in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. is smart and effective and knows how to play the game. A reputation for absolute loyalty to her boss, she is not the token evangelical that adorns most presidential campaigns. She can think, act and work the Washington scene well and her connections in evangelicaland are truly extensive."
About the author: Mike McCarville runs The McCarville Report Online, located here.