Alumni Spotlight: Brad Bodiford, Class IV
Florida Gubernatorial Fellows know they’ll be tested right from day one and every step along the way. But Class IV Fellow Brad Bodiford knew he could handle a challenge. He’d already handled one. One the size of the United States.
It was a couple of years before his Fellowship. Brad had cycled only occasionally, so he was a bit surprised when a Phi Kappa Phi fraternity brother asked him to join PUSH America’s Journey of Hope. It’s a cross-country bicycle ride to benefit people with disabilities.
He was up for the test. In the summer of 2005, Brad joined 35 other riders in trekking 4,000 miles in 63 days, from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. They covered 75 miles on an average day.
It was a baptism of fire for Brad, who nourished his competitive spirit alongside more experienced riders: “You get tired, but you think, ‘If he can keep going, I can keep going.’ ”
On many days, the ride wasn’t over once the riders reached their destination: Brad and his teammates followed by meeting with local residents with disabilities and support organizations such as The Arc.
He made the ride again in 2007, that time as project leader for his team. Closer to home, he has also participated in Gear Up Florida, riding from Jacksonville to Tallahassee.
Brad’s tenure as a Florida Fellow was less athletic, perhaps, but certainly no less successful.
First, the Florida State law student worked with the Department of Education’s General Counsel’s Office to help implement the Ethics in Education Act.
Second, he and another Fellow, Jacob Cremer, partnered on a policy proposal that earned them the Jeb Bush Award for Outstanding Achievement. “Gold in Green: Fashioning Florida into America’s Biofuels Leader” earned the pair a $5,000 scholarship.
It was all part of a Fellowship experience Brad called “incredible.”
“We had amazing access – I got to sit down and talk with the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the Attorney General,” he said. “Where else are you going to get do that? To get a chance to individually sit down with them and make that connection for yourself?”
Brad said that interacting with Fellows with a broad spectrum of political views opened his eyes to some new perspectives. He believes he had the same effect on his colleagues.
“We definitely had great discussions,” he said. “Things never got too heated, but we talked about a number of issues. I really learned a lot from that, too.”
Brad has his hands full working toward his law degree, but the interests stoked by his time as a Fellow are never far away.
As a Florida State law student, he said, “I’m right in the middle of everything. I can walk right to it. I’m two blocks from the (Florida) Supreme Court. I’m three blocks from the Capitol Building.”
“These days I’m always keeping up with what’s going on in state government. I can explain to you in intimate detail how state government works.”
Brad recently served as a federal law clerk in the Middle District of Georgia. He plans to return to public service at some point in his career after graduation.