Heard on the Hill

Meet Beto O’Rourke’s director of women’s messaging

Anna Pacilio comes from the office of another Texan, Rep. Marc Veasey

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is staffing up his presidential campaign. Anna Pacilio joined in June as director of women’s messaging. (Courtesy Anna Pacilio)

Anna Pacilio, a native Californian, is starting her second career with a Texas politician. Her latest role? Director of women’s messaging for presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Early last year Pacilio walked into Rep. Marc Veasey’s office in D.C. with no connection to the Lone Star State. She researched his district, gave herself a “crash course” in Texas politics, and landed the job of communications director.

Her work for Veasey included a push to raise his profile on social media. She drew on her background in public affairs and her time as a digital strategist for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

O’Rourke’s campaign is based in El Paso, and moving there has been the easiest part of the job transition, says Pacilio. The “really good” Mexican food doesn’t hurt.

As she reaches out to women, Pacilio is highlighting O’Rourke’s positions on reproductive health and his plan to create 200,000 new small businesses run by women and people of color over the course of eight years. Many of his top staffers are women, she points out, including his campaign manager.

Her pace hasn’t slowed down with the job switch, which she describes as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Pacilio squeezed in an early morning interview before a day of back-to-back meetings. One thing about El Paso that’s thrown her for a loop: adjusting to Mountain Daylight Time.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.