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Hillary Clinton Volunteer Shares Her Path To The Campaign


Time now for Snapshots 2016. It's a series of audio portraits of people we've met on the campaign trail - today, a campaign volunteer. As we know, volunteers are crucial to a successful political campaign. Each one signs up for their own reasons. NPR's Tamara Keith caught up with a woman who's knocking on doors for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

FARRAH FARLEY: My name is Farrah Farley, and I'm a full-time volunteer fellow with the Hillary Clinton campaign here in Salem, N.H. Right now it's about 5:30. Folks are getting home from work. I want to knock on their door, ring their doorbell, ask them a couple questions and let them get to their dinner.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Farrah Farley is a true believer. At 31 years old, she quit her job - a good, solid job at the Justice Department - moved out of her house, said goodbye to the life she had before and devoted herself to Hillary Clinton.

FARLEY: Do you know who you're going to support in the February 9 primary in New Hampshire?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So far, I am leaning towards Hillary.

FARLEY: You're leaning towards Hillary - great. Well, I just moved up here about a month ago.

KEITH: Farley shares this short narrative about herself with each person she meets. But she's leaving out a big piece of the story - her parents. They met as Peace Corps volunteers in Tunisia.

FARLEY: Maybe it's just the volunteer spirit that my parents gave me. Like, I just feel like I'm part of something, you know - I'm making history.

KEITH: Along with her keys, she carries a family photo. It's Farley as a little girl with her mom and dad posed behind her. She's an only child. It's the kind of portrait you'd take at Sears.

FARLEY: They both recently passed away.

KEITH: Oh, my gosh, really?

FARLEY: These are my mom and dad. Yeah, so that's partly why I've uprooted.

KEITH: Farley's dad died a dozen years ago. He had a heart attack. This spring, her mom went in for heart surgery and never came home.

FARLEY: She was just really sick, and she just waited too long.

KEITH: Farley now drives around New Hampshire in her mom's eight-year-old Toyota Corolla, her master's degree diploma in a Tunisian bask in the trunk.

FARLEY: And I actually talked with my mom all about it before she, like, went to surgery and stuff. And she was supportive. She was like, are you going to meet someone to get married on the trail? And I was like, I don't know.

KEITH: She hasn't met anyone yet, but Farley feels like she's doing what her dad would've wanted. Life is too short for an office job that doesn't feed your passion.

FARLEY: And that's what I've learned, you know, after losing my dad, too. He used to always say, like, only the good die young.

KEITH: Actually, she says, he'd sing the Billy Joel song.

FARLEY: He would always sing it and be, like, you know, that's true. And I'd be like, OK, Dad, like, whatever. But, like, now it kind of resonates, like, how short life is and important it is to just, like, you know, do what you care about. And this is something I care about.

KEITH: And the campaign has rewarded her dedication. She just moved from volunteering to the payroll. Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.