August 1, 2004
Amy Berg hasn’t yet voted in a presidential election, but she talks like a political veteran.
The 20-year-old Scottsdale Community College student returned home Friday from her first Democratic National Convention, a trip she said solidified her passion for politics and the party.
"It’s a motivation for me to come back in four years as staff for the Democratic National Committee or something that can get me the better credentials," said Berg, who attended the convention in Boston as a college delegate. "If anyone leaves this convention and goes home and sits on their butt, then nothing was accomplished."
The sophomore finance and economics student was surrounded by suits, celebrities, political heavyweights and protesters. She said she thrived on the hyperpolitical atmosphere.
That makes sense. Berg comes from a family of activists and even at a young age she became involved in local politics.
Her father, Bob Berg of Scottsdale, has run local campaigns as a volunteer, and in the 1980s, helped coordinate the presidential campaign of former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt. Her great-grandfather, Leo Berg, was mayor of Akron, Ohio.
Amy Berg, an intern at the investment firm RBC Dain Rauscher in Phoenix, worked for a biotechnology company in Boston for a year before returning to Scottsdale to attend college.
After finding only a Republican club on the campus last spring, Berg co-founded the College Democrats at SCC, which supports party members in local, state and national offices.
She also acts as a precinct committee person for the District 8 Democrats, which covers Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Rio Verde.
Berg isn’t discreet about her pursuits. She says she’s "a competitor," and that the convention is a venue to "open doors" for aspiring politicos, activists and entrepreneurs.
Her pursuit of a career as an investment banker is appealing because "I like to go for the kill and close the deal," she said.
One of her most memorable experiences came last week when she and other state and college delegates went to Harvard University to see a group of Democratic party leaders speak.
Protesters shouting in megaphones and throwing paper demonstrated at the event.
"Here I am in my business suit with my briefcase walking in and looking at them, feeling like I was on cloud nine," she said. "It’s funny that that was my favorite part. I just love being protested. It struck me in a very memorable way, and I hope to be protested again."
Berg’s first taste of activism came in 1991 when she and her father took part in a march in downtown Phoenix pushing for the Martin Luther King holiday.
"She was awfully young, and people were quite surprised to see a young girl marching in the streets of Phoenix," said Bob Berg. "She just loves (politics) and has found out she has a real feel for it."
Amy Berg also helped with the campaigns of former Scottsdale City Councilwoman Cynthia Lukas. When Lukas’ mayoral campaign ended in March, Berg said she "just felt this void in my life. I was in overdrive and then I just stalled. I didn’t know what to do with myself."
That’s when Berg started the Democratic club at SCC through the Arizona chapter of the College Democrats of America. When asked whether she’ll pursue public office, her answer is, well, politically savvy.
"I have aspirations to make a difference and to help make this country a better place, and whatever it is that I need to do — whether it’s stay behind the scenes and volunteer or even run for office at some point, I’m willing to do what’s right."