The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Friday, October 4, 1996               TAG: 9610040070
                                            LENGTH:   87 lines


JASON TORCHINSKY'S last encounter with Republican presidential hopeful Bob Dole was a little embarrassing.

He ran into Dole on a Sunday afternoon while waiting for the elevator in their Washington, D.C., office building. Torchinsky was wearing jean shorts, a T-shirt and a baseball cap. Dole was decked out in a three-piece suit.

Torchinsky, an intern at Dole-Kemp headquarters in Washington, has postponed his junior year at the College of William and Mary to work with the campaign. Seven-day work weeks come with the territory. So do chance encounters with the Republican presidential candidate.

``So many people think college students are apathetic,'' the Cinnaminson, N.J. native said. ``What goes on today in politics is going to affect us and our children. People don't realize that.''

He's gained a new appreciation for the complexity of campaigning as well as a better understanding of how Washington works.

Torchinsky works in the advance department, which coordinates all aspects of campaign events from mapping out Dole's exact position on stage to ordering the necessary amount of folding chairs.

He maintains the conference room where the advance department tracks the schedules of Dole, Elizabeth Dole, Doe's daughter Robin, vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp and Joanne Kemp. He said handling the details can be a bit overwhelming.

``We've got people who're moving all over the country all the time. When Senator Dole stays somewhere for the night, we need 100 hotel rooms,'' he said.

Working on the Dole campaign is an opportunity for Torchinsky to assist a politician he's admired for several years. He supports Dole's stance on the campaign's major issues, including the 15-percent tax cut proposal.

``Bob Dole isn't the kind of person to say something if he doesn't believe it,'' Torchinsky said. ``Senator Dole is so full of energy and enthusiasm about his work.''

Current polls show Dole trailing Clinton. But, now that the campaign has more money and a ``solid'' vice presidential candidate, Torchinsky believes Dole's standing in the polls will improve.

Torchinsky's introduction to politics came in high school, when he worked two afternoons on the Clinton campaign and two on the Bush campaign.

``I read everything I could get my hands on and decided I was a Republican,'' he said. ``Their economic plan just made more sense. The social stuff came along later.''

Since then, he has worked on the campaigns of First District Congressman Herb Bateman, U.S. Senate hopefuls Oliver North of Virginia and Chuck Haytaian of New Jersey and New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman. He was also an intern on House Majority Leader Dick Armey's floor staff.

According to William and Mary government professor William L. Morrow, Torchinsky is the perfect combination of drive, humility and tact.

``He has ideological commitments but he's very good at mending fences and making friends with people all across the political spectrum,'' Morrow said.

Torchinsky plans to return to college in the spring. A public policy major, he's active in student government, the Honor Council, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and the campus tour guide and president's aide programs.

His future most likely involves some form of politics, he says.

``I'd like to go into elective politics in one way or another, either as the candidate or the guy standing next to the candidate,'' he said.

Morrow said Torchinsky has the personality and demeanor to succeed in politics, provided he gets the right break.

``He's tenacious; he's focused,'' Morrow said. ``He knows where he's going.''

The Dole-Kemp campaign is different from others Torchinsky has worked on because of its fast pace and national scope, he said.

``Every wall you look on has a map of the U.S.,'' he said. ``They're not just there for decoration.''

Most recently, Torchinsky worked as a runner for the platform committee during the Republican National Convention in San Diego.

``It was bigger than anything I could ever have imagined,'' he said. ``It was amazing how many small details had to come together for this giant event.'' ILLUSTRATION: Color photo, MARK WILSON, Associated Press

Jason Torchinsky has postponed his junior year at William and Mary

to intern with the Dole-Kemp campaign.


Issues that Matter

For complete information see microfilm


Michael Sexton at the Young Democrats at (614) 280-9406

Republican national headquarters at (703) 368-4214

Perot '96 at (202) 737-6892 by CNB