When Morgan Mohr was a child, she rode her tricycle across the neighborhood with a petition in support of spaying and neutering cats and dogs.
Today, she works in the White House as the associate director of strategic planning in the Office of Political Strategy & Outreach.
Mohr was always interested in politics. In middle school she dreamed that one day she would be qualified to work on a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign (she was) if another attempt at the oval office ever happened. Mohr grew more progressive as she moved through high school and read as much as she could about economics and political theory.
When she arrived at IU as a Wells Scholar, one of the top honor at the university, in 2014 she went to the first college democrats meeting. At that time they had just started a campaign called Freedom Indiana, which focused on combating HJR-3, the proposed amendment to the Indiana constitution that would have banned marriage equality.
She worked the very first campaign phone bank on campus and connected with a woman in rural Southern Indiana while having a conversation about why HJR-3 was wrong.
“She was on her own journey with LGTB issues but it felt so powerful to connect with someone on a political issue like that,” Mohr said. “I thought ‘this is what I’m meant to be doing.’”
The campaign lasted 8 months. She never missed a single phone bank, attending all four each week.
Hillary Clinton. Michelle Obama. Pete Buttigieg. Joe Biden. Mohr has been in Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, Florida, South Bend and Nevada interning in their offices or supporting their campaigns. When President Biden won the 2020 election, Mohr joined the transition team and helped Biden’s nominee’s prepare for their confirmation hearings. Soon after she joined The White House political team.
“We think of our team as the bridge between the states and constituents—the people—and the White House,’ said Mohr. “My job is understanding what is happening on the ground—what are the issues people are facing, what are their concerns. I also pay attention to public opinion.”
Mohr said being in the White House has been a strange experience. She’s even seen her name in the “Politico Playbook,” a daily newsletter she says Washington insiders treat like The Bible and one she read in high school and calls “sort of gossipy.”
“DC in many ways is like a small town,” she said “No matter where you are—Kokomo or D.C.—people are people. Everyone has hopes and fears and weaknesses. Everyone is very human. That’s what I try to remember every day.”
Mohr professes her love for both Kokomo and Indiana to anyone who will listen. She said growing up in a working class town is what separates her from many of her District of Columbia peers. She came to appreciate her hometown and state even more after winning a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in 2017 and studying in Oxford for two years.
“When I lived abroad for a few years I never felt more American,” she said. “Moving away from your home makes you identify with it more.” She expected her career could even bring her back home one day, crediting Kokomo High School for preparing her for the many successes that have come her way.
“I had such a great education there,” she said. “There were so many AP classes that were offered. I had the coaching to get me to the national level in debate and I had such amazing teachers that really pushed me and were sounding boards in my intellectual development. I’m completely serious that I would not be the person I am without Kokomo High School.”
Now she uses the skills that began to develop in Kokomo to help solve problems across the nation. She is worried about climate change, race in America, and an economy that might not be set up for working people to survive. There is also the COVID-19 Delta variant.
“These are mind boggling challenges,” Mohr said. “I have so much admiration for the president, the vice president, and the brilliant advisors he keeps close.”
Mohr has always been a problem solver. She has always been a fixer and wanted to resolve and improve things for others, she said.
Her progressive ideas sometimes led to opposition in high school classrooms, but it never caused her to veer off course. She encouraged others to read about issues, think independently and come to their own position on things. And to take a lot of pride in doing so.
“I think that is the most beautiful thing you can do as a citizen,” she said.
So what comes next for Mohr? The possibilities seem limitless. Mayor? Governor? Senator? President? Or maybe she will always be happy being on the frontlines of a campaign, inspiring people to vote for her candidate?
Whatever she decides, it’s not hard to imagine Mohr’s foot finally breaking through the glass ceiling that Hillary Clinton, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other women before them put so many cracks in.