Appointed in January as state representative to the Washington House of Representatives, Republican Rep. Graham Hunt has proven himself a jack of all trades. An award-winning military veteran, established business owner, husband, father of three, state representative and AIU Online graduate, Hunt has seen great successes despite starting out as a high school drop-out.
“I was the guy who was too smart for his own good in high school,” he says. “I dropped out and got my GED. It was in the military that I realized my GED wasn’t a grade-equivalent degree. I felt I sold myself short. I never wanted to say I had a GED [when filling out applications]. I wanted to do better.”
He began his search for an online university when he was overseas on active duty with the Air Force. “There weren’t many credible online schools at the time, but AIU was credible. I knew I needed a university that worked when I was in Iraq, Afghanistan ... wherever I was. AIU worked so beautifully with it. When instructors learned I was in combat and couldn’t meet all the needs of an online chat or attend at scheduled times, the teachers absolutely worked with me. AIU was so willing to ensure my education would go through regardless.”
In 2007, Hunt graduated summa cum laude with his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a specialization in Accounting and Finance. “It was about proving to myself that I could do it. Years down the road, I would realize its true value.”
When he decided to pursue his degree, Hunt heard a lot of statements that most students hear: “This is stuff you’ll never use, but you need a bachelor’s to move forward and build a career path.” He learned, however, that wasn’t true. “What I learned was the thinking process. That was the most valuable—it wasn’t the paper I wrote or the discussion board I posted. It may seem portions of your classes are irrelevant, but the processes are more relevant than anything you’re taught when you apply it to real life.”
While his original plan of becoming a certified public accountant changed course, he says his Accounting and Finance specialization was the perfect match for him. “Get [a degree] that challenges you and complements your passions and way of thinking. … I’m a numbers guy; I love statistics. I like black and white. Black and white is the way my mind works.” His specialization gave Hunt the confidence and knowledge to start his own business, Hunt Family Insurance Agency, which he still operates today.
It was that business that started him on the path to public service. “When you’re in business, you’re also in politics. … There are important laws, rules and policies that directly affect various industries—that affected my industry. I got involved at the local, state, and county levels. It naturally progressed.”
Soon, Hunt was evaluating how those in public service were running things and thought, “I want his job. I can do better.” He served on the city council and then was honored to be elected as state representative. “[For those in public service,] each time you walk into the state capitol, you realize you’re here because you’re part of a bigger purpose. … You’re not here for your personal accomplishments. You’re here because the people felt you were intuitive enough to represent them.”
For those looking to go into public service, Hunt advises, “Get involved early, stay involved, and don’t let the fear of not knowing keep you out of it. … At every level, the representatives there are just like you and me. They’re not any smarter or wiser, they just have experience. Be willing to show up and listen. Don’t let topics or not knowing scare you.”
As for his career goals, Hunt says, “I have no aspirations to go higher [than state representative]. I still work for my agency, and I want to continue to develop. … I took an oath for the armed forces, and no one officially relieved me of that oath. I will go where I need to be serving. My community and those around me will define that. … I love being involved in my community and contributing to my community.”
As he continues to serve, Hunt is grateful for his time at AIU. “I proudly display my degree and the yellow graduation cords. When people see my diploma and ask me where American InterContinental University is located, I get to tell them my story. Great school, I love it.”
See more AIU alumni success stories on our AIU alumni blog.
This graduate’s story is not typical. Success will depend largely on the effort put into studies, job search efforts, experience and attitude. AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find employment rates, financial obligations, and other disclosures at www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures.