With the 2020 election getting closer and closer each day, we at Watch The Yard think it is important to highlight members of our community who are key players in making it happen.
We recently interviewed Trey Baker, the National Director of African American Engagement for the Joe Biden campaign, who is a Fall 2003 initiate of the Gamma Rho Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi at Tougaloo College. Baker is currently working in a top leadership role to get Joe Biden and Kamala Harris elected.
As National Director of African American Engagement he is responsible for executing outreach to the African American community, engaging in programming that highlights Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’s policies including the Lift Every Voice Plan for Black America and Racial Equity Plan and making sure that voter turnout in this very vital constituency is at its highest.
Prior to joining the Biden campaign, Baker was the City Manager for the City of Grenada, Mississippi where, in its Council-Manager form of government, he acted as the head of government and administration over the 200-employee operation. Trey’s legislative background is as Legislative Counsel for Congressman Bennie G. Thompson in his Washington, D.C. office. Congressman Thompson represents Trey’s home district in the 2nd Congressional District of Mississippi.
Prior to his time in D.C., Trey was a Public Sector Career Consultant in the Office of Career Development and Opportunities at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law where he was a member of the Public Sector team specializing in career opportunities in federal and state government agencies, public interest organizations, and non-profit organizations. Trey’s background includes both private legal practice and public interest work. From 2009-2011 Trey worked at Pryor Johnson Carney Karr Nixon, P.C., where he was an Associate Attorney in the litigation group and specialized in medical malpractice defense and complex commercial litigation.
We talked to him about his role and how being a member of a Black fraternity and an HBCU graduate helped shape him into the person he is today.
Read our exclusive interview below:
We are getting close to the election, what does a typical work day look like for you?
A typical day starts really early and ends very late. With a series of calls and zoom meetings throughout the day. From day to day, we have a cadence of events that we put on including Make It Happen Monday for Black business engagement, Shop Talk on Thursday which is our Black Men’s engagement program, and phone banks throughout the week including a D9 Phone bank every Tuesday. So, while the day ranges, it always includes activities to push the ball forward.
You are a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi. What made you want to join?
I have strong belief in Kappa’s creed of Achievement in Every Human Endeavor. So, not matter what a man of Kappa does, he seeks honorable achievement in that field. And as I looked across the Kappa men in my life, whether my Brother-in-law or others, I knew very early that I wanted to carry those ideals in my life.
As you’ve matured in your career and become, looking back, how do you think joining a Black fraternity has prepared you for where you are now?
It has prepared me in every conceivable way. It’s may pledging Kappa Alpha Psi that let’s me know that I can do anything when the days get long and the work becomes difficult. Also, running the business of the fraternity – whether it was planning Kappa week, running chapter meeting, engaging Brothers across my Province, or throwing parties, Kappa was one of the things that got me ready for life outside the hallowed grounds of Tougaloo College.
What advice do you have for people who want to explore working on a political campaign?
Jump in. Get involved. Raise your hand. Volunteer for a campaign. Speak out. The political world and success within it goes to those with the audacity to step up and get engaged in the process.
Why do you think this election is so important?
This election will be the most consequential of our lives. What we do today will impact generations to come. The current president has undermined the greatness of this country and we have to get back on track.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black college culture?
Watch the Yard does a great service to the community by highlighting the culture and letting us know what other Greeks are doing across the country. Additionally, by connecting the current life on the Yard with the throwbacks gives people a real feel for the culture and lets us celebrate its fullness.
Watch The Yard would like to thank Trey Baker for taking time out of his busy campaign schedule to speak to us about his position.