After AU: Alumna Mindy Myers talks politics, taking advantage of D.C.
Myers has worked everywhere from the Clinton White House to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign
Mindy Myers graduated from the School of Public Affairs in 1998. While in college, Myers interned at the White House, which propelled her toward a career in politics immediately after graduation. Myers has worked on multiple presidential and senatorial campaigns, most recently serving as the manager for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) campaign, following which she was Warren’s Chief of Staff for three years until Dec. 2015. Myers is currently the director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure, working to help Democrats win back the Senate majority in 2016.
What initially made you interested in politics and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of it?
When I got to AU and started doing internships and got exposed to different things - I interned on the House side for a while and for a congresswoman named Patricia Schroeder - I just sort of got the political bug and got very interested in public service. I think going to AU was a big part of getting exposure and experience to things that led me in that direction.
What was your first job in politics?
I had an internship at the White House that then turned into a job. I was the special assistant to the deputy director and then the director of legislative affairs at the Clinton White House.
Do you think your time at AU prepared you well for your line of work?
Absolutely! I just think that being in D.C. and everything that the campus of AU offers, if you’re willing to take advantage of those opportunities and get exposed to different experiences, I think it definitely helps prepare you for anything you might want to do in public service or in politics.
The most recent senatorial campaign you were involved in was that of Senator Elizabeth Warren, so could you share what that experience was like?
Senator Warren’s campaign was just something I felt very fortunate to be a part of. She is a fantastic candidate and senator. We had a great campaign team all across Massachusetts – really good people, really good volunteers, a lot of energy and it was a lot of fun!
Since you have managed multiple successful senate campaigns, what would you say is the key to running a successful campaign?
What I believe is building a good team of people that you work with and really empowering them to do their job and to have a good team that is working together to try to accomplish, you know, victory on election day.
You also worked as the New Hampshire state director for the Obama campaign at one point in your career – how was that experience?
Yes, just during the general elections in 2008! It was great. It was very gratifying to play a small role in making history with that election.
Could you talk about the earlier part of your career, after you left the Clinton White House and joined the Al Gore campaign?
I was in the national headquarters for Gore’s campaign and then was one of the folks who actually, on election night, got on the plane and went to Florida for the recount. That was the campaign that went longer than we had anticipated [laughs].
Having those experiences of working on a presidential campaign was very exciting. Obviously the outcome, I guess determined by the Supreme Court, was not what we wanted, but I think it was an exciting experience and just shows how important campaigns are.
What have been some challenges that you have come across in your line of work?
I think doing campaigns is particularly grueling work. You work very long hours. I think you can just throw yourself into it and you know, maybe sacrifice some other things along the way, so it’s definitely hard work. But for me, it’s also always been work worth doing because so much [of it] is so important and so much is determined by who we elect and how our government works.
Could you talk about the work you are currently doing with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee?
We are working to help take back the Senate for the Democrats. A piece of what we do is monitor senate races, and eventually we’ll be looking to run ads in states.
Reflecting on the time you have spent in politics so far, what have been some of your proudest moments?
I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to manage three senate campaigns, and luckily they turned out successfully. So, working to get Senators Whitehouse, Blumenthal and Warren elected have been among my proudest moments. Those election nights were fun!
What is it about your job right now that excites you?
I think there’s a lot at stake in this election and I think it affects a lot of people’s lives whether we’re able to take back the Senate, whether we’re able to elect a democratic president – all of those things. So for me, what makes this all worthwhile is how much is at stake and how people’s lives could be affected.
What advice do you have for current AU students who may want to pursue a career in politics?
I would say take advantage, do an internship, get involved. There’s an important election in 2016, whether you want to go help out on a senate race or a presidential campaign, but just don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Just throw yourself into something and take advantage of all the opportunities that you have at AU.