NDTC Trainer Spotlight: Andrea Johnson
May 15, 2018
The National Democratic Training Committee will host live trainings in all 50 states to ensure the tools and resources for success are in the hands of Democrats across the country.
To do this, we’ve brought together expert trainers with a wealth of campaign knowledge to facilitate our trainings across the country. Our Trainer Spotlight blog series showcases our wonderful trainers and how they became part of our team!
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Johnson.
Andrea on Andrea
How/when did you get your start in campaigns/politics?
At the time I finished graduate school, I had never worked, or even really volunteered, for a campaign before. Never really thought about it. But that year Sen. Bill Bradley was running for President. He spoke at my college commencement. I had been looking around for healthcare ethics jobs without much luck, so I thought I’d write the campaign a letter (this was in 1999, so yes it was a letter). And they hired me to be the assistant to the campaign manager and chairman. It was great job for learning the depth and breadth of a campaign, and my political career snowballed from there.
What is your current full-time position and what do you love most about it?
Currently, I spend most of my time helping Kansas candidates with field plans, digital strategy, and message development. I love helping Democrats in a state like Kansas find their footing, and confidence, to fight through the inevitable crap. I love it when our Democrats get to a point where they aren’t just getting by in a Republican-dominated state, but begin to embrace the idea of what is possible, especially when we’re strategic and unrelenting.
Andrea on Training
What is your favorite part about training with NDTC?
My favorite part about training with NDTC is that moment when your group delights in a new idea. You can see it wash over the room, with eyes turned up, sometimes small smiles, but always a distinct buzz of a very particular energy (and sometimes voices) when something new clicks with the group. It is especially fun when it isn’t just one or two people, but most of the room, that has that moment at the same time. You can literally see the effect cascading around the group, and I feel grateful for being a part of those moments.
What’s one state you’d love to train in and why?
I generally like training in Republican-majority states the best, because I relate to the struggle. But I’d really like to train in a Southern state with a strong African-American Democratic presence, or another state where the Democrats are majority minority, because I’d really like to hear more about their perspective and how trainings can better serve them. The NDTC content is great and applicable to a wide range of folks, but I worry that my approach to trainings is too geared to people with my particular experiences and not helpful enough for other communities.
Andrea’s Tips for Candidates
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about running for office for the first time?
In Kansas, I tell candidates to look deep for their reasons for running, and then understand that those reasons are important enough to lose a race for, too. I don’t want to be downer, but, especially in tough districts, I want candidates to understand that if they have something important to say or important to change, that it is worth campaigning your heart out for — even if it this campaign doesn’t “win.” The way we make long-term change is the constant challenging of the status quo — and they are a critical part of that. A well-fought campaign that doesn’t win is not the sad story of a candidate who shouldn’t have tried, but the triumphant story of a challenge undertaken for the best reasons, by the best people, who understand it may take us several times (even several different approaches) to make big leaps forward. But that each campaign that is hard fought gains us ground. And we will, if nothing else, persevere, learn, and fight again.
How do you practice self care?
Honestly? I sleep as much as I can. I love sleeping, and while I can go for extended periods of time on little sleep (campaigns will do that), I really don’t like it and think my work suffers. Also, I should eat better and exercise more, but I find the one thing that makes me go a little nuts if it is missing for too long is sleep.
- Coffee or tea? Coffee, but I rarely drink either
- Favorite TV show that’s currently on? Adam Ruins Everything
- Twitter or Instagram? Twitter
- What are you currently reading? Sons of Wichita by Daniel Schulman
- If you weren’t working in politics, what would you be doing? I was obsessed with the ACLU v. Kobach trial (I sat in the courtroom for most of it), so I’d say trial lawyer
- Biggest pet peeve? People that bulldoze other people, either verbally or physically
- What is the theme song for your life? Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”
Learn from Andrea at a Live Training Near You
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