“And I like to add, she’s also with me,” says Emily Cole, Counsel to Hillary For America. So what does a campaign counsel do, and how can you get involved? We couldn’t think of a more perfect time to find out than on this historic morning, when after last night’s primaries, there can be no doubt, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President is Hillary Clinton, the first woman to win the nomination of a major political party in the U.S:
1. How did you get involved?
I have always admired Hillary, ever since I was little. I was working at a law firm in D.C. last year, and when she announced that she was running, I just knew that I wasn’t going to be able to sit at my desk and not get involved in some way– this is too exciting.
2 – Were you always interested in politics?
I don’t know if I was always interested in politics, but I have always been interested in government and social justice issues. I’m one of those middle school kids who read To Kill a Mockingbird and decided that I had to be a lawyer just like Atticus Finch.
It was in high school during the 2004 election—before I was old enough to actually vote—that I realized what an important part of social change politics was. We had just invaded Iraq, and it was the first time I think I understood the significance of the decisions that get made by elected officials.
Around 2004, there were a lot of protests in New York City where the Republican National Convention was being held that year ,and I got really involved with some liberal groups protesting that summer—I had to lie to my parents so I could go into the city to join in.
I also remember so admiring the work that Hillary had been doing regarding health care and her brilliant advocacy throughout her career to create accessible and even universal healthcare.
3 – Why do you think it’s important for college aged women to care about politics?
The word “politics” seems to turn a lot of people off. I think a better way to think of it is as a vehicle or tool for creating social change or to helping to build the world that we want to live in.
Women are graduating college and law school at record highs, and we are the first generation that is growing up and entering the work force really seeing women make their way to the top of most professions. For the first time, women my age can really visualize a path to the jobs, careers, and lifestyles they want to live.
But there is so much work to do—we have to actually take advantage of the opportunities that are becoming available and keep working to break down barriers to ones that are not yet available. Yes, political issues involving women’s rights (specifically equal pay and reproductive rights, for starters) are something that I believe are crucial to keep fighting for politically.
But frankly you don’t have to be interested in politics or government to keep making a difference. It is just as important for our generation of women to keep working to change industries, corporations, institutions and social conventions by fighting our way in, contributing, and making people listen to our ideas.
Women have an amazing capacity to improve every aspect of the world we live in—whether it is creatively, academically, financially, and yes, also politically. I don’t know of a single aspect of society that wouldn’t benefit from more female perspectives and voices.
For all of these reasons, I think it is also so important to help empower and motivate girls and women to keep working to make sure their voices and contributions are heard. I think that getting to know women in different fields and from different backgrounds who are doing interesting things can be incredibly inspiring and motivating. At least it has been for me. I think “She’s Fit To Lead” does a great job of this! Telling the stories of women who are working to change the world in whatever way—big or small can hopefully help encourage others to join in in whatever way they are able to.
4 – What kind of things do you do every day?
I work with different teams on the campaign to make sure that we follow campaign finance laws and a variety of other laws that crop up in the daily course of running a campaign. This can be anything from making sure we have all of the legally required disclaimers on the materials that the campaign puts out to making sure that we are following all of the relevant state and federal campaign finance rules for events and organizing activities. For example, I work closely with our amazingly talented digital team on the legal components of the digital and social media materials that the campaign puts out. For the primaries, we also ran a voter protection hotline to help answer questions people had regarding voting in a particular state as well as keeping track of issues that came up in polling places on primary or caucus day so our legal team and teams in the field could try to get them resolved.
5 – If someone wants to get involved what opportunities are there?
Anyone who is interested in working or interning on the campaign should go to https://www.hillaryclinton.com/jobs-and-internships/ and apply for the roles they are interested in. Our team updates the page very regularly and is hiring for several roles right now. As we move into the general election, our biggest push at the moment is in the field and getting organizers on the ground in states across the country.
People can also get involved by tweeting and joining in the conversation. Encouraging friends to register to vote and talking about the issues that matter to you is one of the best ways to get people engaged and excited about the election. That’s something everyone can do and it is so important!
Thank you so much Emily, and congratulations to you and the whole team (and of course, to Hillary)!