Most job interviews last less than twenty minutes. Peter Staab’s took all day.
In August of last year, Staab volunteered his car to drive an obscure Nebraska Republican around the state for a few town-hall meetings. The next week, Staab became the official driver and first staffer for the Ben Sasse Senate campaign. Now the transfer sophomore has switched gears and he is taking Hillsdale by storm.
In less than a year, Staab drove more miles than most college students have driven in a lifetime. He piloted a 1995 Fleetwood R.V. more than fifty thousand miles through nearly every small town and big city in the state. Learning to drive a vehicle that big takes some courage, and he admits that at first he might have clipped “one or two” mailboxes and “tail whipped a few stop signs.”
Soon he was parallel parking and pulling U‑turns like a pro. Staab explains that for the next nine months the bus became his home.
“My life became one long, but awesome road trip,” he said.
Don’t mistake him for a chauffeur though. Junior and Nebraska native Will Gage says Staab played a much more integral role. At rallies and town halls, “Peter always made sure to put Ben Sasse first,” Gage explained. “He took pride in his work on the campaign.”
During his time on the road, Staab and Sasse developed a close friendship. Staab says that the two know the other’s fast-food order (two dollar menu McDoubles, a value fry, and Diet Coke), love football, and share a passion for the American founding.
Staab explains that his friendship with the Senate candidate ultimately influenced his decision to attend Hillsdale College. Staab found inspiration in Sasse’s “articulate words about permanent principles” and moved him to learn more. After winning the Nebraska primary in the spring, Sasse encouraged Staab to explore Hillsdale in the fall.
Over the summer Staab decided to transfer from Morningside College, a small liberal-arts school in Iowa. After the first round of midterms and papers at Hillsdale, Staab said he is happy with his decision. He has applied the campaign mindset to campus life, reminding himself to “win each day.”
At Hillsdale, he has found the challenge he enjoys.
Uncertain about his plans after graduation, Staab says it would take another exceptional candidate to make him return to politics. He describes his experience on the Sasse campaign “as a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
But if he’s needed, he’s ready.
“For Ben Sasse, I’d drive that bus anywhere.”