Campaign gaffe inspired director to work in politics

Photo by Mercedez Holtry / NM News Port

By Joseph Buck / NM News Port

Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean’s most memorable moment came in 2004 when he screamed “yahhh!” on stage at an Iowa campaign rally. Dean’s excitement inspired Scott Forrester, a Regis University student studying psychology and history.  As a result, Forrester started working in politics and began organizing meetups for Dean. From there Forrester became president of the Young Democrats and started his 12 year career in politics.

“I really wanted to make a difference,” Forrester said on a phone interview describing his first step into politics. “I really wanted to get involved.”

Forrester is currently the state director of Hillary Clinton’s New Mexico presidential campaign.

In 2005, Forrester said he worked on then-Mayor Martin Chavez’s re-election campaign. He made his way up to chief of staff for Chavez before campaigning for Clinton’s 2008 presidential run. After four years as executive director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico he is back on board with Clinton in New Mexico.

With experiences at different levels of politics, Forrester said what drives him is,”making sure we elect the right people that fight for regular New Mexicans day-in and day-out.”

From Facebook post to in-state events, Forrester gave an overview of what he has done for Clinton’s campaign in New Mexico.

“We’ve built a great grassroots organization that’s knocking on doors and calling voters,” Forrester said. “We’re talking to voters one-on-one.”

Forrester says part of spreading the message and reaching potential voters also means collecting donations for the campaign. As executive director, Forrester said he oversaw contributions to the party statewide. Even with multiple campaigns under his belt, Forrester says sometimes there is not an exact blueprint to fundraising.

Forrester said fundraising begins with the basics. He starts with people he knows and then starts connecting with other people sharing the same beliefs and ideas. From there it grows and says nobody knows exactly when it will take off.

“You get a Bernie Sanders effect, Barack Obama effect, where people get so excited and involved in the campaign that they just begin to start giving online,” Forrester said.

Forrester says he learned even in large campaigns it is important building relationships with individual voters.

“People really want that one-on-one engagement,” Forrester said. “At the end of the day people really want to be apart of something bigger than they are.”

Forrester said he also has worked with a variety of Democratic races throughout the state of New Mexico including school board races, but knows a presidential campaign is on a different level.

“You really have to [work], 24/7, 365 days non stop,” Forrester said. “You have to put your whole self into it.”

Forrester said politics are his passion and is always thinking about campaigning. He says New Mexicans and his family are also on his mind when he works.

“I have a seven year-old daughter who has seen an African-American president for the last seven years,“ Forrester said. “If she were to see a woman she would grow up in a much different world than I have.”

Trump’s New Mexico Republican campaign representative could not be reached for comment.

Please see our story on Trump campaign seeks young voters.

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