Skyline grad working for Obama campaign
October 28, 2008
By Christopher Huber
Skyline High School graduate Lindsay Scola was in town last weekend for the first time in quite a while.
She’s not famous, but she does work for two famous people. Scola was in the Seattle area to set up a rally for Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden, who visited Cheney Stadium in Tacoma on Oct. 19.
Scola, from the Skyline class of 2001, has been living out of her suitcase while working for the Barack Obama presidential campaign since March 2007. From the Iowa caucuses to Obama’s trip to Israel, Scola has spent nearly two years of her life hopping city-to-city to set up events for the campaign.
“The best part is really getting to see the people that come to his events,” she said. “I get to see that in a different city or a different state every couple of days.”Scola is a paid campaign staff member, one of the first 100 hired, who works on the advance team.
“I had a background in political organizing and I guess I was lucky,” she said.
The advance team travels across the nation to “parachute in” a few days before an event, such as a rally or convention, said Scola’s mother, Robin Scola. Lindsay Scola’s job is to book venues and coordinate logistics with the Secret Service and organizers, as well as conduct event set-up and take down.
Lindsay Scola’s career in politics and activism began early. Technically, she said she got hooked on politics as a 9-year-old, when her father took her to see Bill Clinton speak at Pike Place Market.
“In our family, you gotta be a political geek,” Robin Scola said. “She’s been involved in politics forever.”
She joined the ranks of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington at age 17. She graduated from high school, went on to the University of Washington and decided to pursue a career in politics.
A former theater teacher at Skyline, Jim Henderson, knew Lindsay Scola well as a high schooler. He said they often discussed politics.
“She expressed interest in theater and acting, but I know she was also extremely interested in politics,” he said. “At one time, she was trying to decide which way to go. She was always passionate about her political views. She was just very dependable and very passionate.”
During her time at the UW, she worked on political campaigns in King and Snohomish counties, as well as for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. Before taking her post on the Obama campaign, Lindsay Scola worked in Washington, D.C., for two years on the congressional staff of U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, she said.
“I got on really early,” she said about being hired to help with Obama’s efforts during the Iowa caucuses. “So, I was persistent but fortunate that I got in at the start.”
She worked in Iowa until January, when she joined the advance team staff. Since then, she has traveled to 14 states and countless cities, and said she doesn’t even know where she will be Election Day.
At the end of 2007, her parents had a chance to experience a typical day’s work when they volunteered at the Iowa caucuses.
“Both my husband and I went out and helped a couple of times, to help in Iowa,” Robin Scola said. “It’s amazing the hours these kids work. You don’t want to count how many hours you’re working to figure out what you’re making.”
Lindsay Scola said the sporadic schedule is tough sometimes, but it’s worth working for a cause she believes in.
“In this case, I got to be with the candidate I picked, who was the underdog at the beginning of this,” she said. “All of it’s exciting. You get used to living in hotels and out of two suitcases, but it’s been such an incredible journey that I’ll take all of it.”
Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or at email@example.com.