Here at GAIN Power, we are always looking to spotlight different political progressives and changemakers. If you or someone you know would like to be nominated, please fill out this form!
Our spotlight this week is on Lottie Ash, the Deputy Political Director at the Democratic Attorneys General Association!
Can you give a brief background and introduction about yourself?
LA: I got into politics in 2016 after graduating from GW. I majored in international affairs and I always intended to go abroad, and then life happened! Basically I realized that there was a lot of work to do at home, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Hillary Clinton. So instead of going abroad, I ended up working for Hillary down in Florida as a field organizer. And that really sparked my passion for politics and for talking to voters and making sure that we’re doing the work that can have a very real impact on the lives of millions. Then I moved back to DC; for a year, I organized a couple of protests here. But through that, I got to experience organizing at the issue-side a little bit.
I then jumped back to campaigns, working in Virginia in 2017 and in Illinois for a bit in 2018. I was on the Senate race in Nevada for the remainder of 2018 before I joined Elizabeth Warren’s campaign in Iowa. I was there for about a year managing a staff of 25. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m really grateful for that. After that, I joined Swing Left, which is a PAC that also does a lot of volunteer work. I was on their political team managing the relationships with down ballot candidates, specifically state legislature candidates.
I am currently at the Democratic Attorneys General Association, where I am the Deputy Political Director. We just had a huge year of 35 races, and I was working on the western half of the country, which was super fun. I’m also in charge of the women’s initiative there. I do a lot of consulting with campaigns, giving advice, making sure that they have all the resources that they need from the Committee, and also communicating their needs to our team. This looks like polling requests, research requests, and things like that, and making sure we can plug in and help them out.
What does your day to day work look like?
LA: Right now, we are in the post-election wrap up stage, but during election season, there is a lot of talking. I often joke that that’s my entire job to just be a communicator. As Deputy Political Director, I manage the relationships with the campaign, so I am the point of contact for all of our campaigns, endorsed or not, to the organization. This often looks like giving general consulting advice and strategic ideas. In the early stages, it’s working on candidate training. These are all things that I’m able to help them out with, and I’m also able to help out with connecting them to new team members, and making sure that they have other consultants, making sure that they have the resources they need to hire the best campaign managers, and making sure they just have the plethora of knowledge that exists within DAGA.
Was there a specific turning point that made you choose this line of work?
LA: With Trump becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2016, that was where I was like, “I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore.” This was not someone that I could ever see–and I still have a hard time seeing it, even though we lived through four years of it–in an institution that I respected so much. I knew I couldn’t sit that one out; I knew I had to fight for democracy, and that’s what I really felt like I was doing in 2016.
I also knew that I had to fight for the first female president. I have always been obsessed with the idea of finally getting us across that finish line, cracking that final glass ceiling. And I think the main reason why I hadn’t originally planned on working on the Hillary campaign was because I didn’t know what campaigning was. I come from a swing state, but I had never really been exposed to field organizing or to campaigns in a meaningful way before I ended up kind of applying on a whim. This was something that I was really excited to partake in, and it’s one that I’m really grateful that I got a chance to do, because it really did just open up my eyes to so many things. I think the most powerful thing was talking to so many people across the country, and getting a better understanding of what matters to different people in different places, really breaking outside of the bubble that I think we all find ourselves in.
How does your work impact the political climate we live in?
LA: Attorneys General in particular are the most important office at this point in time, given where we are politically. In a lot of states, they are the final guardian of rights and democracy–we’re seeing that with Roe v. Wade being overturned and we’re seeing that with Republicans calling into question the integrity of our elections. So my work in particular is about being able to support the AGs, being able to get more AGs elected, and being able to work with our team to make sure that people know what attorneys general do. I think that is having a very real impact on the political climate we’re in. I think we’re seeing that most clearly with Roe v. Wade, where I would argue that many average voters were not necessarily familiar with the Office of Attorney General prior, but when Roe fell, we saw our AGs standing up and fighting back against arcane laws, making sure that they were going to do everything in their power to support a person’s right to choose.
Lastly, for fun, if you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
LA: I would be an AP Government teacher for one day.