‘I thought, what do I have to offer?’ The woman digitalising the Democrats
After hi-tech won Trump the presidency, Jessica Alter wanted to put the Democrats on a stronger footing. She shares what she has learned
Jessica Alter is the co-founder of Tech for Campaigns, a 7,000-strong volunteer organisation that enables Silicon Valley employees to use their digital skills to help Democratic election candidates. “The aim is to become a permanent digital arm for progressive and centrist campaigns, and give access to campaigns at any level to the people, technology and resources they need,” she says.
What led you to start Tech for Campaigns. Was it the aftermath of the 2016 election?
It was the aftermath of the Muslim travel ban. I had been travelling during the election and returned around the time of the inauguration and, within a week, the ban was announced. I had already been very bothered but that really pushed me over the edge and I wanted a way to feel as if I was doing something that made a real impact. When you think about that, you think: what do I have to offer? I understand tech and digital, and I know a lot of other people who do, too. I reached out to my co-founder Pete Kazanjy and we decided to find out if our friends would be interested in something like this. And they were, and that’s how it started.