Clinton Staffer Provides a Voice for the Silenced
Issue   |   Fri, 11/11/2016 - 02:54
Sally Marx ’14
Sally Marx ’14 began her work on the Clinton campaign in April 2015, gaining a comprehensive understanding of government’s intnerworkings.

Sally Marx ’14 knew that if Hillary Clinton ever ran for president, she was going to be part of it. A Bethesda, Maryland native, she has been following the former Secretary of State’s lengthy public career and admiring Hillary as a strong female role model since she was old enough to recognize Clinton’s face on television and in the news. “She’s such a kindhearted person, you could see that from afar,” said Marx on what initially drew her to Clinton. She continued to trace Clinton’s sometimes turbulent career as she committed to play basketball at Amherst College.

A Better Chance
Sally was a decorated high school basketball player who considered several Division I offers, but ultimately ended up at Amherst in pursuit of the “best school” and “best fit” she could possibly find. From her time at Amherst, Marx remembers highlights on and off the court, particularly volunteering with her teammates at Amherst A Better Chance, or the ABC House. A Better Chance is a national high school program that facilitates the recruitment and care of high-achieving students from underserved neighborhoods and school districts, providing them residency and access to the exceptional resources and education at Amherst Regional High School. Sally cites this as one of her favorite experiences during her time at Amherst and a crucial part of her team culture.

On the court, Marx was a part of the 2011-2012 Division III National Championship team, as well as the third place squad in the previous year. The 5’8” shooting guard saw the court in eight games her second year at Amherst and was an integral part of the team dynamic moving forward.

Living History
In the classroom, Marx was a History major, and she shared a close relationship with her advisor and professor Frank Couvares who remembers her as “tough and cheerful, even through adversity.” In her role on the Clinton campaign, Marx often thought back to one of her favorite classes at Amherst, “Writing the Past” with Professor Dwaipayan Sen. “The course made us take an in-depth look at how we understand and tell history in present day. We were taught to think critically and even question the validity of the stories/memories that people rely on to understand history,” says Marx. As an integral part of the campaign, Marx felt that she was living through history everyday, surrounded by her “incredible” colleagues and working to elect the first woman president.

Finding Hillary
Marx’s dedication to electing Clinton as the country’s first female presidential candidate is evident in the path she took to help her get there. After graduating from Amherst, Marx took her first job with The Ben Barnes Group, a government affairs consulting company founded by former Texas Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes. She took the position with the understanding of her supervisors that if Clinton decided to run, Sally would be leaving the office and “going wherever Hillary needed [her].” She waited and watched, anticipating Hillary’s next run for the presidency, ready to help in whatever way she could.

True to her word, Marx left the Ben Barnes Group in April 2015, as soon as Clinton’s campaign was announced. Few concrete jobs were available at the start of the campaign, but this did little to deter Marx, who took a volunteer position at Hillary’s headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. Her hard work and dedication impressed those around her and she soon landed the coveted position of National Political Assistant. In this role, Marx gained a more comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the campaign. Her admiration for Clinton grew as she became further entrenched in the campaign and, commenting upon meeting her for the first time, she said that: “she is one of the most wonderful people you will ever meet.”

A Champion for the Silenced
Anyone who talks to Sally can immediately feel the passion that she has for her work on the Clinton campaign. “She has been fighting for women and children her entire life, globally,” Marx raves. Since her time at the ABC House in Amherst, this has been a cause very near to Sally’s heart: providing a powerful and equitable voice for the rights of people not so lucky as she. At the ABC house, Sally had the opportunity to work with bright, motivated students who otherwise would not have had the chance at the education and challenging environment that Amherst provided. Seeing the world of the students that she tutored and visited on weekends inspired her to fight for more adolescents like the ones at the ABC House.

When Marx witnessed first hand in Brooklyn the steps that Clinton was taking to serve the underserved, she was sold: “seeing what she did for other people and knowing what she could do for the country and for the world drew me to her.” Beyond what Sally admired about Hillary, however, her background in world history made her aware of all of the potential outcomes of this election, and she said the words that were on many people’s minds: “I fear having someone like Donald Trump as president”.

After the primary elections and once the campaign started to pick up speed, Marx’s dedication was rewarded with an in-office promotion to National Voter Outreach and Mobilization Project Manager. “It’s a long title, but basically we are running a fifty state strategy on this campaign, so my job was to help out with our states that are not battleground states, just to make sure that we have the capacity to build,” said Marx about her position. She took to her new job quickly and easily, taking on big roles with coalition groups within the campaign. Sally had the chance to work closely with African Americans for Hillary, Latinos for Hillary, and Women for Hillary, making sure to get everyone involved and once again fighting for underrepresented communities to make sure that “everyone involved knows the Hillary is supporting them.”

Moving Forward
The outcome of this election was especially devastating for the men and women like Sally who have worked so hard throughout the last several years campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Marx commented that throughout this entire process she has been solely focused on, and has put all of her energy into the campaign. “We are just trying to live day by day and make it through each day,” said Marx prior to Election Day. This sentiment prevails, however, even in the aftermath of the election. Sally will continue to hold her values, and the values that Hillary stood for, close to her. Staying true to the description provided by her Amherst advisor and trusted friend and mentor Frank Couvares, Sally is continuing to stay tough through adversity. Undoubtedly, Sally will continue to serve as a champion for the underserved and, as for her work on the Clinton campaign, she comments, “it has been an absolute honor doing this work.”