Bloomfield Hills Lasher graduate and current independent political consultant and strategist Matthew Dowd, the third of 11 children, found many of life’s lessons as a hard-working teen.
“I delivered The Detroit News in Southfield and Bloomfield Hills, cut lawns, and caddied, and learned about the value of money, saving it, and about people,” he shares. “That wealth didn’t determine the goodness of someone or their value in society … how we deal with those in our small circles in life is the most important thing we can do.”
He says of his days in Michigan, “My upbringing was good – a bit fun, chaotic, dysfunctional at times and the normal Irish Catholic ebbs and flows,” he shares. “I wouldn't trade it for the world.”
Dowd states that he became enamored with politics during the summer of ’73. “I fell in love with politics during Watergate when I was 12 years old,” he shares. “I remember watching the Watergate hearings on summer vacation on Lake Michigan. I just thought politics was so fascinating through that lens.”
After high school, Dowd attended college in St. Louis and then worked in Washington DC. From there he moved to Austin, Texas, where he met then Governor George W. Bush. His political career took off during the 2002 election year, when he became the Republican National Committee’s senior advisor. He went on to become the chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign.
He went on to serve as strategist for Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 during his reelection campaign, and is currently a political consultant for ABC News.
“In my break with Bush, I kept some good friends, lost some friends, and it taught me we must be loyal to the truth and our own values before we are loyal to a person or a party.”
He shares of his experience with Schwarzenegger, “Arnold is a fascinating person …I learned there is a big difference between ego and confidence, and celebrities at times have a hard time drawing that line.”
One constant in his life has been his faith.
“I am a Catholic who has explored many different spiritual paths, but always come back to the centering of my faith,” he confides. “I believe there are many paths to being a good and moral person with integrity: no one faith or journey has a monopoly on the right way. For the last 10 or 12 years, I do a daily meditation and centering prayer each morning for about an hour and that keeps me hopeful, optimistic and centered. It is composed of readings from the Bible, poetry, thoughts from great spiritual people of history, etc.”
He shares his philosophy in his 2017 publication, “A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as We Lead and Serve.”
Dowd’s latest venture, Paradox Capital, is a social venture fund investing in start-ups for good, for-profit companies.
“I believe we must figure out how to blend social consciousness with capitalism. I would like to humbly be one of the founders of a 21st century America in whatever way I can serve best,” he asserts.
“I never imagined where I am today, though I had dreams of having meaningful impact in the world. I was blessed that I found what I loved to do at a very young age, and then pursued it through the hills and valleys.”