Though she's only 30 years old, Mill Valley native Jessica Jackson has been an activist for the Democratic Party for two decades.
She comes full circle this week as a first-time delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., getting to hear former President Bill Clinton speak Wednesday night. Twenty years ago, 10-year-old Jackson was handing out fliers for then-candidate Clinton at Safeway on Camino Alto.
Jackson, who attended , and most recently, Santa Clara University School of Law, says she is determined to see President Obama re-elected for a second term.
As an attorney and an activist, Jackson spends her work days representing death row inmates as part of the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, a San Francisco-based organization that provides counsel to represent indigent men and women under sentence of death in California.
Jackson also enjoys hiking on Mt. Tam, blogging for the Harvard Law and Policy Review's online blog and serving as a chapter board member for the American Constitution Society. She's a member of the , and loves spending time with her eight-year-old daughter, Hannah.
We caught up with Jackson while she visited her mother's family in Sweden, just befre she headed to Charlotte this week.
Mill Valley Patch: Tell us more about when you first became politically active and why?
Jessica Jackson: I volunteered at age 10 in 1992 to hand out fliers at the Mill Valley Safeway. My mother encouraged political action and conversation in our home and I felt very strongly about electing a president who I thought would protect our environment. During President Obama's first election, I was in college in Florida and felt compelled to become involved by working with our school's Students for Obama chapter to register voters and increase awareness of the issues.
MVP: Why did you want to become a delegate, and why do you support Obama?
JJ: I decided to run to serve as a delegate this year because I feel very strongly about seeing the President re-elected and felt it would be an honor to represent the 2nd Congressional District by attending the convention and voting for him.
I also plan to work hard at the convention to meet other active Democrats and discuss how we can further influence policy on issues close to my heart such as criminal justice reform. I believe that President Obama has a holistic picture of the needs of this country and that he believes in true equality for all United States citizens and will continue to push a political agenda that reflects that vision such as his work this term in signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act, making the executive order on immigration and helping bring affordable health care to 33 million more Americans.
MVP: What speakers are you most looking forward to?
JJ: I'm really looking forward to hearing Bill Clinton Wednesday night. I also think Mayor Julian Castro's work in San Antonio is really inspiring for young activists across the country. Of course I am most excited to hear President Obama speak on Thursday night.
MVP: What do you think of the Democratic campaign thus far?
JJ: It's always harder for an incumbent to campaign since they are in the forced position of defending every action taken or not taken in the last three years whereas the opponent only has to make promises for the future, but I think that President Obama's campaign has become increasingly effective at messaging and letting voters know how much the President has accomplished despite the condition the country was in when he took office.
MVP: Do you feel optimistic about it?
JJ: I am very optimistic for this election and I think that as November draws closer voters will realize that voting for Romney/Ryan would be taking a step backwards for this country.
MVP: Have you been to a convention before, do you know much about the host city?
JJ: I have only had the opportunity to attend the State Democratic once (last year as an alternate) and have never gone to a National Convention before so I am very excited! I have been to Charlotte several times to visit family friends and really enjoyed the city.
MVP: Do you have family in Mill Valley? Pets?
JJ: I have one daughter, Hannah, who is eight and entering the third grade at Park School. Together, Hannah and I live in Mill Valley with our pet bunny rabbit Mr. Nibbles. My mother and sister also live in Mill Valley and I am lucky to see them several times a week.
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