Activist & Strategist | Florida
Marsha’s entrée into the political arena was inspired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Marsha worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign in New York’s Suffolk County, a traditionally Republican-held part of the state that also was the home base of Clinton’s opponent, former U.S. Representative Rick Lazio. There, Marsha set up the first Democratic campaign headquarters on the North Shore of Long Island. Ultimately, Clinton and her supporters secured an historic victory—the election marked the first time a former American first lady had run for public office, and the first time a female senator would represent the state. After the success of Clinton’s campaign, Marsha campaigned for several Democratic candidates and a local good-government referendum.. She was elected to chair New York’s Brookhaven Democratic Committee and served as its chairwoman for eight years. While it was challenging to build the Democratic Party in a primarily Republican region, Marsha and her collaborators were highly effective, increasing the party’s registration in the area by 32%, securing the first Town Board majority in more than 30 years, and winning numerous town-wide elections. Through local activism and as a member of the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee, Dr. Laufer worked to recruit and empower qualified women to run for political office. A graduate of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP) at the University of Maryland, Dr. Laufer went on to earn a Ph.D. in speech-language pathology from Northwestern University. She then conducted research and taught at Purdue University. While teaching at Stony Brook University, State University of New York, she also was in private practice as a speech-language pathologist.