Mississippi’s Democratic Party Headquarters’ Lone Paid Staffer Is Leaving
At the end of 2019, Jacqueline Amos, the only employee of the Mississippi Democratic Party’s headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, will walk out of the office for the last time as a paid employee.
Amos started volunteering at the state party headquarters about a decade ago before coming on board as the field director. In her more recent work as a base organizer and trainer, one of Amos’ biggest mandates was to energize Democrats throughout the state. Her goal was to create, develop, and recruit as many Democratic executive committees as possible for the 82 counties within Mississippi, and, as Amos told Supermajority News, “right now, out of 82, only 4 of them are not fully active.”
After nearly a decade working for the party, Amos is proud of the work she and her volunteers and the voters have done together. But she expressed that one of the most frustrating parts of her job was the low budget, especially in relation to her attempts to recruit candidates.
“It poses a problem when you go out and ask someone to run for office, but you can’t financially support them,” she told Supermajority News. “The chairman is responsible for fundraising, and I believe he’s raised the most he can, but it’s hard to get people to invest in a system they think is broken or nonfunctioning.”
Still, Amos says she’s been “open and honest with candidates” about their strategy and messaging, and how they can reach different constituents around Mississippi. In 2020, no Democrats will hold statewide offices in Mississippi. Amos hopes to see the state Democratic Party overhauled, as well as major changes in how candidates view the voting electorate — namely, they have to stop ignoring black Mississippi voters.
“White Democratic candidates believe they have to have a percentage of Republican voters to be successful. In my professional opinion, I think that’s wrong,” Amos said. “Obviously, the more votes you get from everyone the better, but if you ignite the Democratic base, and that is African-American voters, and you go after women, especially African-American women, they’ll beat the pavement for you. They’ll knock on doors, they’ll get you elected.”
“But if you reach out to [African-American voters] on the first of never?” she added, “You won’t get elected.”
Amos still deeply believes in Mississippi. She said she’s excited about the Senate campaign of former Agriculture Sec. Mike Espy. “If we do what needs to be done — voter registration, voter contact, town halls, to get people involved — we’ll get a much better, much larger turnout in November,” she told Supermajority News. “We do it because it’s our civic duty. We know we’re better than this.”