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Upisode 48: Political and communications guru Amanda Finney stopped by the bookstore for a chat on running the HRC primary in Louisianna and where that ill-fated 2016 campaign went wrong. She and Ian discuss what they both see as the real divide in America, which is less about left versus right and more about one’s identity in place. She urges Seattlites to get into more dinner table arguments with their uncles.

About Amanda Finney

Growing up in South Carolina, human rights were a major dinner-table topic for Amanda Finney’s family; her uncle on one side was chief in the Cherokee nation (Amanda would later serve as an ambassador of Cherokee culture in South Carolina), while he grandfather on the other side was the first Black chief justice of South Carolina. “I was always told that you have to know who you are and where you’ve been in order to know where you are going,” she says.

Most comfortable in community organizing and activist spaces, she naturally gravitated toward the 2012 campaign to re-elect Barack Obama. “I wasn’t old enough to vote the first time Obama took office, and I felt like I missed out on an important moment in time,” she says. She was a field organizer during that campaign and, four years later, would serve as Louisianna state director for Hillary Clinton’s close 2016 effort. In this week’s episode she talks in depth about that experience from the perspective of a woman, and someone who grew up in South Carolina.

Finney has also taught with Teach for America, and now manages communications for Microsoft’s Windows Community team, where she connects everyday customers to the engineers who make Windows. She says it builds exactly on her prior experience even if it’s not political work per se.