This week, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) named Fargo, North Dakota native, Libby Schneider as Chief of Staff to the organization. A big job for a big talent with political roots that run deeper than the elm trees which line the historic 8th Street South neighborhood in downtown Fargo where Libby was raised. With over 300 staff, a budget over $325 Million dollars it’s a large corporation by any measure. But entering a 2024 election year where defending President Biden against a possible rematch with former President Donald Trump is priority number one, I’m not sure the stakes could be higher. Libby loves that, which is one of the many reasons I love her and this appointment.
As a former Chief of Staff to several Members of Congress and a United States Senator, as well as Libby’s former boss, I had two immediate emotions upon reading the news: so much pride and a tinge of sadness. Let’s talk about the pride first. Maybe it sounds weird to have pride in someone that is little more than a decade your junior, but it may have something to do with the front row seat I’ve had for almost 30 years watching Libby’s career. I have seen her grow from an enthusiastic pig tailed, snowsuit wearing volunteer to a valuable, first-rate political strategist that’s making key, decisive decisions in multi-million-dollar races.
I remember the first time I met Libby in a Fargo campaign office with her mother, current state Rep. Mary Schneider. They came in as a family to work doors for Earl and Glenn Pomeroy. She was a young kid volunteer going door to door with no real idea about the strategy or metrics surrounding the palm cards she was handing out. She only knew that it was an important job, and thus did it well, with pride, and a bit of competitive fire. She told me if she could do more than her brother and cousins, whom she was competing against that day in the mid 1990’s it would be a good day.
Competition runs deep in the Schneider family and Libby learned early to make the monotony of campaign work fun for those willing to do it. She knows first-hand whether it is a city council race or Presidential campaign, the work all starts around a table with lots of conversations—harnessing ideas, folding mail, opening donations, making calls– lots of repetition, lots of opportunity for competitions.
As Libby grew in her abilities so too did her opportunities to manage, win and of course lose races—like all managers will do. Being a witness to the effort she led with Ryan Taylor’s 2014 Governor’s race showed me how she was able to build a coalition and use her raw strategic political instincts to find niches for Ryan to try and make inroads in that tough cycle. It’s why I knew she was the right choice to join our team with Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s office and eventually lead her campaign.
Libby is smart, she is funny, she cares about the people she serves, she cares about those who work with her, and she will work as hard or harder than anyone in the room. Win or lose—she will leave the process and people better than she found them. This is the kind of person I want leading the staff at the DNC.
Sadly, her beloved father, Mark Schneider is not here to see that his daughter finally earned the title she has wanted and has earned through hard-work, perseverance, passion, and skill. Mark’s passing was hard on so many democrats in North Dakota but of course, no one as much as his only daughter. He would be so proud. While he may not be able celebrate this impressive achievement with her, I hope all of you can join me in celebrating this amazing North Dakota native.
I have tried to remember any North Dakotan that has held higher post at the DNC and can’t recall who it might be. How appropriate then that a gal from Fargo named Liberty holds the honor. I’m so proud of her and all she is going to do for our party and our country.