The Root's Talented Ten: Jason Green
Deputy Associate Counsel to the President
During the 2008 campaign, Jason Green followed in Barack Obama's footsteps—orchestrating a massive, in-house voter registration drive, not unlike the one the president ran in Chicago after leaving law school. His work may well have won Obama the previously red state of North Carolina. Green, also an Ivy League law grad, is working in the White House as one of Obama's deputy legal advisers.
Hometown: Gaithersburg, Md.
Campaign Positions: Field Director—Connecticut, National Get Out the Vote Director
Campaign Turf: Nevada, South Carolina, Connecticut, Maryland, Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina
New Washington Gig: Deputy Associate Counsel to the President
The Root last caught up with Jason Green when he and Addisu Demissie (also on this list) were double dipping: completing Yale Law School while working for opposing campaigns in the Connecticut primary. After eking out a win, Green marched through a string of primary states, organizing field workers and directing policy. Just days after finishing his law school finals in May, he became Obama’s national Get Out the Vote director.
The in-house voter registration drive—similar to work Obama himself did in Chicago in 1992—brought millions of new voters to the rolls and allowed the campaign to have a solid grasp of its strength heading into the election. The grind was a point of pride among the hacks: “People said, ‘We’re doing it because it’s hard and we like it because it’s hard, and we’re going to win because it’s hard,’” says Green. As for a favorite feather in his cap, Green flags North Carolina, which voted Democratic in a presidential election for the first time since 1964. “We won there because of voter registration, period,” he says.
But most importantly, the campaign provided Green and other young African Americans with extraordinary management training in real time. “What we have is political expertise, and we’ve proven to people that we’re bright, capable, energetic,” he says. “I loved having a program and getting to run every piece of it—to work with our communications team, work with our legal team, work with all our field directors, to deal with our new media team to take it online.” Green is so committed to multitasking that he learned of his prestigious new job, in the office of White House Counsel, at the same time that he was studying to take the bar exam in Maryland. “I’ll let you know how that turns out,” he jokes.
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