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Originally published in the summer 2008 Kennedy School Bulletin
Jackie Weatherspoon, MPA 1991, exemplifies the party activist whose ability to multitask is matched only by her multiple skills and endless energy.
She’s involved in the Democratic party as a volunteer poll-watcher, get-out-the-vote coordinator, organizer of students and the youth vote, and she has also served as co-chair of New Hampshire’s Democratic Party convention. However, as committed as she is to the ideology of and candidates within her party, Weatherspoon also brings an uncommon level of commitment to and passion for the democratic process, which she is putting to use in this election year.
Inspired while at the Kennedy School taking Professor Shirley Williams’s “To Be a Politician” class, Jackie returned to New Hampshire and was elected a state representative. However, after serving in office only a short while, she was selected by the United Nations to be an election officer in Bosnia, where for more than two-and-a-half years she registered people to vote for municipal elections in Gorazde while coalition forces were bombing nearby Kosovo.
Since that time, Weatherspoon has observed elections in numerous countries, including Nigeria. Back home she puts her expertise to work on behalf of the Democratic party to ensure the electoral process is fair.
As a volunteer faculty member at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, she also engages young people and helps inspire them to get involved in the political process. During the lead-up to the New Hampshire primaries, Weatherspoon trained groups of students to make voter calls, work on the party’s get-out-the-vote program, and canvass neighborhoods.
She also helped place students in campaign offices of Democratic candidates.
Weatherspoon’s most public role in 2008 was as the cochair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s convention.
“There are so many ways to be a part of the democratic process,” she says. “Just pick something you’re good at, and go for it.”