Patti Solis Doyle, who worked as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 during the former secretary of state’s Senate campaigns in 2000 and 2006 and her 2008 presidential campaign, spoke about her background in politics on Thursday as the Yale Politics Initiative’s second guest of the year.
Doyle led an off-the-record masterclass early Thursday afternoon and spoke at a public event later in the evening. During the hour-long event, which included a Q&A session, Doyle discussed her experience working on political campaigns and the state of American politics today. In her masterclass earlier in the day, Doyle said she centered the discussion on presidential campaigns and what it takes for a candidate to be successful. She told the News she wanted to convey to students whatthe day-to-day of a presidential campaign is like.
“In 2000, I was working 20 to 22 hour days,” Doyle said during the public event. “I was working for someone that I admire and I respect, but I was also working for my friend and someone that hired me at an early age, someone that mentored me and promoted me, and someone that helped me: Hillary Clinton.”
After working for a mayoral campaign in Chicago, Doyle joined the presidential campaign of then-governor Bill Clinton LAW ’73 in 1991. .
During her time on that campaign, Doyle said Hillary Clinton took an interest in her and put her in meetings with campaign leaders. The two women travelled the country together and got to know each other well, Doyle said. After working on Bill Clinton’s campaigns and in his White House, Doyle began to focus her energies on Hillary Clinton’s own bids for office.
In an interview with the News, Doyle discussed her experiences as a woman of color working on large-scale political campaigns.
“That’s part of the lesson that Hillary taught me: the only way you can move the ball forward, as woman, as a woman of color, for other women, for other women of color, is to actually move the ball forward. To win,” she said. “And that will open doors for the women who come after me, the Hispanic women who come after me. And so that was my mindset.”
When asked about her background at the public event, Doyle said she was born and raised in Chicago and is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her father twice entered the U.S. illegally and was deported both times. The third time he entered, however, he got his papers and was allowed to remain in the country.
When she was growing up, Doyle said, her father worked three jobs, while her mother worked two — at most, her family made about $18,000 a year. Doyle said she worked hard to go to college, an option she did not think would be available to her.
“Just do it,” she said during the event. “Reading about it and taking classes, that’s all important. obviously you need to have a base of knowledge, but there is nothing like going and knocking on doors and calling people and sleeping on someone’s couch for six months and working 18 hours a day to figure out whether or not this is something you want to do.”
Members of the audience interviewed by the News said they found Doyle’s talk inspiring.
“I thought she has a really inspiring career in politics,” Clare Wu ’21 said. “I enjoyed that she was able to have such a candid conversation with us with the most recent elections that I have been trying to follow.”
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Correction, March 9: A previous version of this article stated that Patti Solis Doyle was invited by the Yale Political Initiative. In fact, the name of the organizer is the Yale Politics Initiative.