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  • Writer's pictureEmily Duke Hargan

Catching Up

Hello there! I've been on a brief hiatus from the blog as we have been away on vacation. Summer is my absolute favorite time of year and I savor every minute I can get to visit with family and friends. I hope you all have had the same opportunities.

So, let's do some catching up because in the last month there have been quite a few new subscribers to the site.

If you don't know me already, I'm Emily Duke Hargan. I was born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC, the home of RJ Reynolds tobacco, Texas Pete and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I'm a wife, mom to two teenage boys, a devout Catholic and a fanatic for NCAA basketball (rarely ever losing the office March Madness pool). I love to eat all things southern especially bbq, hush puppies, and Cheerwine. I've spent over twenty years working in Republican politics both in fundraising and government affairs, and one of my favorite past-times is having lively political discussions with a bourbon cocktail in hand.

Why did I start a political blog? Good question. Writing a blog was something I didn't originally set out to do. However, I began writing opinion pieces for friends and found that I had a unique perspective on politics and life in DC that could be more widely shared. So with a lot of cheering on from family and friends, I formally launched Bourbon and Politics with my first interview and profile with Congressman Denver Riggleman.

So why bourbon? Well, bourbon is America's spirit—born in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Bourbon drinkers, while naturally considered traditionalists, are also trailblazers and bold. They are the people’s people. Politics attracts all comers but sometimes there are men and women who are called by that true American spirit. They hold fast to their convictions but they’re bold, they blaze trails. Bourbon and Politics uses this out of the box thinking to explore what drives these decision makers, thought leaders and up and comers and what makes politics so darn interesting.

Since launching, I've written an "unofficial" insider's view to the coronavirus—giving readers an up close look at what was happening during the early months of the pandemic. The blog also dedicated a series leading up to July 4th exploring the question of "What Makes America Exceptional" and I encourage you to go back and read Beatrice Leader's excellent piece on the American Identity of Freedom and Opportunity.

Bourbon and Politics has also done two exclusive interviews with Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA-05) and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Both of them very different but both have navigated politics in unique ways. Read their profiles here. I also promoted a fun 10-day #GreatAmericanPhotoChallenge on social media where I challenged Bourbon and Politics followers to post their photos of places in America that illuminate the richness and beauty of this great country. I posted photos of places like the Painted Desert in Arizona, Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, a seaside village in Maine, and the iconic Statue of Liberty.

So what's next? Well, I have a couple of great interviews on deck with some of the Hill's more visible power brokers that I think you will find of great interest. I also plan to continue with the American exceptionalism series by exploring the topic of what shapes the American Mind. Look for the next Top 10 List—"Great Books to Add to Your Summer Reading".

I also hope to have another end-of-summer giveaway with 212 Fahrenheit Clothing and LOD Threads and a round-up of our favorite distilleries and whiskey bars in the DC-metro areas (hint: send us your ideas and join me for a bar crawl!).

Finally, Bourbon and Politics has significantly upped our social media game and regularly posts on both Facebook and Instagram. Please like and follow for more regular commentary, updates and to join in the conversation.

Don't let summer pass you by. Savor every moment of it. Get outside more. Visit with friends. We went to see old friends in NC a few weeks ago and our time together was just what my soul needed. Encourage your kids to read, exercise, swim, and learn something new. The Hargan boys are taking on service projects at our parish this summer and while it's not summer camp, it's been rewarding nonetheless.

Check out some of these fun things we've gotten into:

~ AlphaBeing's Inflatable Lounger is great for hanging out in the backyard, around the pool, and when you're camping. And frankly, it is awesome for teens who are reluctant to go outside in the fresh air. My boys will lay in these and read for a couple of hours—they're really that comfortable.

~We're a game playing family and our boys like strategy games. Forbidden Island was a gift we got for Christmas and we took it on vacation with us last week. We loved it and ended up playing it almost every night. Send me more recommendations of family games and I'll post!

~I love these Yeti Lowball Ramblers for cocktails outdoors. They come in a variety of colors, hold 10 ounces of bourbon and the drink stays cold all night long.

~We got our youngest son an ice cream maker a while back as a gift and this summer (probably out of sheer boredom) he's gotten it out and tested some new flavors. We have Cuisinart's lower-end version (link here) that makes 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream and it's easy for kids to use on their own and it's under $60!

~I like to be outside especially in the summer months and getting exercise is absolutely imperative right now. We bought these two books: Hiking Virginia and Hiking Waterfalls in Virginia that have given us ideas on where to go and explore new places with our kids.

~Join the Black Rifle Coffee club! This veteran owned and service member supported company roasts its coffee in Utah and Tennessee (USA approved!) The coffee club membership includes whole bean, ground or single-serve coffee rounds. I love their coffee. I give it as gifts and we drink it in our office. Please check them out and support them.

~Finally, grab one of these 10 Best Canned Cocktails to Drink ,sit out on your porch and listen to

one of our Bourbon and Politics Spotify Playlists.

Our most recent Summer of Independence Playlist is linked here:

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