Alumna to head Clinton’s Iowa campaign

Simpson alumna JoDee Winterhof has “stumbled” into the political arena and is now running Iowa operations for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Winterhof attended Simpson from 1985 to 1989 and graduated with a degree in speech communications and public relations.

She was active on campus, where some of her activities include serving as student body president and president of Alpha Chi Omega and writing and editing for The Simpsonian.

“My career path was a little bit accidental,” Winterhof said. “I stumbled into it. Career counselors normally don’t tell you you’re heading into politics. It was a natural step, but it wasn’t a step that occurred to me.”

Winterhof worked in student development at Simpson, where she discovered an opportunity to be a nanny for Sen. Tom Harkin. She got the job and moved to Washington, where she started working for him through his presidential and senatorial campaign.

“She’s dynamic, energetic and passionate,” said Professor of Management Marilyn Mueller, who taught a few of Winterhof’s business classes. “She’s creative, and it was easy to see her tremendous potential. I appreciate her staying in touch with me.”

In March of 2004, she left Harkin to help start America Coming Together, a political group that encourages people to vote. Now she’s the state director for the Clinton campaign.

“I’m thrilled that JoDee has agreed to run my campaign in Iowa,” Clinton said in a press release from “She’s a great organizer who clearly loves her home state and will be a great asset to my team.”

Winterhof was among the first group of students who took advantage of Simpson’s newly-created Communications Department, where she had a reputation for being busy.

“She was a student who got a lot done,” said John T. Morello, Winterhof’s adviser on The Simpsonian and currently the associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. “She was also a terrific student and person, very organized in all facets of life. She never missed deadlines, and she never complained.”

One thing Winterhof said she likes about politics is there aren’t “typical days.” Her current agendas see her setting up for “Good Morning America,” meeting with supporters and doing press interviews. She commented that on the national scale, Iowa is in a set of the campaign’s “early states.”

Her responsibilities include planning the events for Clinton’s campaign in Iowa, hiring and managing staff and overseeing all other operations.

Even with all her credentials, she said her various activities at Simpson got her started.

“It certainly was a nice base for work in politics,” Winterhof said. “Honestly, some of the best preparation was involvement in the community.”

And for those interested in following a similar path, she had this advice.

“I would encourage anybody to become more involved in their community or things they care about,” she said.