Deputy Director of Strategy and Leadership Development

Luke Watson

Image of Luke Watson

Luke grew up in Texas learning about J.J. Pickle, Lyndon Johnson, the New Deal, and the electrification of the Hill Country. His parents, sister, and grandmother are teachers. Throughout college, he knew that he would become a history and government teacher who coached golf and basketball.

But the call of politics was strong in 2004 when the war in Iraq turned into a quagmire and Luke felt powerless to do anything about it. In 2011, he finally got the opportunity to both teach and take part in the democracy he so cherishes.

Luke teaches the Third Way staff how to solve problems, design strategy, and innovate processes that challenge the outdated orthodoxies of America's political parties. He also leads the Third Way Fellows Program and builds the next generation of policy thought leaders. Each fellow leaves Third Way with a collection of collaborative thinking tools ranging from brainstorming to mindfulness and story-telling to design thinking.

Leaving Texas with just a suitcase and an old Dell desktop, Luke began his political career on a congressional campaign in 2004. He has been a finance assistant, a field organizer, GOTV director, and deputy campaign manager. On Capitol Hill, he worked as a scheduler and moved into the role of senior advisor. There, he offered political, legislative, and communications recommendations to Members of Congress and staff. In all roles, Luke channeled his central Texas roots and made sure that the least popular voice in the room was heard. And, sometimes, he was right.

Luke graduated from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, a small Baptist school in Texas. As such, he takes BBQ and college football seriously. He aspires to become a scratch golfer and has come close... twice.