When Mike Pompeo called Harvard Law School professor and author Mary Ann Glendon to ask whether she would speak at a public function in support of his Republican candidacy for the 4th Congressional District seat, she didn't hesitate.
After all, she had known Pompeo since he worked for her as research assistant on one of her books while he attended Harvard Law School in the early 1990s.
"I always thought, 'Wow, this guy is a natural to go into politics,' " Glendon said Tuesday.
But her incentive to give her presentation "Faith, Families and Liberty" at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Wichita received a boost last month when Republican Scott Brown claimed a surprise victory in a special U.S. senatorial election in Massachusetts.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"I would have gone out at Mike's invitation anyway," Glendon said, "but now I go with a spring in my step."
It's not just that a Republican won in a Democratic stronghold. In fact, Glendon noted that she's a registered independent and has been for 40 years.
"I'm one of those independents that propelled this guy Scott Brown to victory against enormous odds," she said. "But much more important than Scott Brown, people who had given up on politics here in Massachusetts suddenly realized we can make a difference.
"And then we realized, if we really care about things, we ought to do more than just vote. If we believe somebody is a good candidate, we ought to do things we never did before."
Like make phone calls, talk to friends and neighbors, and even stand outside carrying a homemade sign.
"The whole political landscape in Massachusetts has changed since January," Glendon said.
Her career experience has included serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican under President George W. Bush, counsel to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, member of Bush's bioethics council and author.
But the 71-year-old grandmother of six said, "I think the most deeply satisfying professional aspect of my life is being a teacher. It's like being a parent."
And like a parent, she has career visions for her students and those who have worked for her as research assistants. She saw politics in Pompeo's future.
After spending 5 1/2 years in the Army following his graduation from West Point, he was older than most Harvard Law School students.
"He just stood out," Glendon said. "He came in with this wonderful air of self-confidence. At the same time, he had a very friendly way of relating to people. I thought, 'Boy, this is just the kind of person we need in politics.' "
Instead, Pompeo chose a business career while he and his wife, Susan, raised their son, Nicholas.
"I thought, 'I've had so many students go into politics, and here's one that got away,' " Glendon said. "But it turns out I was wrong. I think he was so much wiser than I because he waited.
"He didn't go off to Washington and let his son grow up essentially without a father. He started a business, he got known in the community. I think he did it just right."
Glendon sees Pompeo's candidacy much as she did Brown's.
"We're starting to realize in Massachusetts that we don't have to leave everything to the professional politician," she said. "We're starting to get candidates, like Mike, who have already had their judgment, competence and integrity tested."
Pompeo joins Jim Anderson, Wink Hartman, Dick Kelsey and Jean Schodorf in seeking the Republican nomination for Rep. Todd Tiahrt's seat in Congress. Raj Goyle and Robert Tillman seek the Democratic nomination. The primary election is Aug. 3.