City native hired by presidential hopeful

Aleigha Cavalier

A New Castle native will play a part in the Democratic Party’s presidential sweepstakes.

Aleigha Cavalier, a 2006 New Castle High graduate, was named Wednesday as the national press secretary of former Texas congressman and presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke.

Cavalier was one of four hirings the O’Rourke campaign announced for its communications team.

Cavalier will be leaving Tom Steyer's NextGen America, where she serves as communications director in San Francisco, to join the Beto campaign next month in El Paso.

"I’m incredibly excited," Cavalier told The News by phone Thursday. "I’ve admired Beto and his campaign for a long time. I really admire his commitment to not just meeting and talking to every voter he can in every corner of the country, but also that he actually listens to their stories and experiences and is making sure that their stories are a part of the campaign and are incorporated into the solutions that he’s proposing to the challenges facing our country."

Cavalier won't be able to join the campaign in time for next week's Democratic debate in Miami, but she'll be busy with it thereafter.

"My job is to work with the press across the country, particularly the national press, from paper to TV to radio to all sorts of different kinds of media, thinking about how we reach voters through the news is integral to a campaign," she said. "Whether that’s traditional media or digital media, my primary role is making sure that Beto’s message is getting out there and it’s heard."

As thrilled as she is to join O'Rourke's team, she concedes she will miss her current job with NextGen America.

"I really enjoyed my time I spent at NexGen," she said. "I’ve learned a lot. Tom Steyer is an incredible person and I look forward to the work that they are going to continue to turn out young voters in the future."

Cavalier's mother, Jan Cavalier Lee, still lives in New Castle's Croton area.

Also hired Wednesday by the O’Rourke campaign were deputy communications directors Rachel Thomas and Ofirah Yaskel, and director of women’s messaging Anna Pacillo. Thomas comes from the Democratic digital organization ACRONYM, according to CNN, and Yheskel from Virginia, where she was communications director for Gov. Ralph Northam. Pacillo had been communications director for Texas Congressman Marc Veasey.

"As Beto builds this historic grassroots campaign, we're continuing to grow our national communications team that will enable us to reach every voter and share Beto's vision for confronting the challenges facing our country," O'Rourke campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon told CNN.

"Ofirah, Rachel, Aleigha and Anna bring a broad range of experiences from campaigns and organizations that will allow us to lift up the stories and ideas of people across America and empower every voter to have a stake in their future.”

According to Cavalier’s Linked In page, her roles at NextGen America included communications director and senior press secretary. Previously, she had been Pennsylvania communications director for NextGen Climate.

She also has been public affairs director for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania; Western PA director for Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates; and special events coordinator for Allegheny County.

Cavalier received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, and earner her master of political science degree strategic public relations from George Washington University in 2013.

Editor

Dan, editor, started with The News in 1978 and spent 10 years as a sports writer. He's been a general assignment reporter, copy editor, paginator and Lifestyle editor. He's a '78 Slippery Rock University graduate with a B.A. in English.

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