Kellyanne Conway, Trump's new pick for White House counselor, learned everything she knows on a blueberry farm in New Jersey

Trump's new White House counselor is a hard-nosed New Jerseyite

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 22, 2016 5:22AM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Kellyanne Conway, who served as Donald Trump's third and final campaign manager, is going to serve as counselor to the president-elect.

"Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted advisor and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory. She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message. I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing," Trump said in a statement on Thursday morning.

Shortly after the announcement, Conway told CNN's "New Day" that she doesn't expect her job to be like that of traditional White House counselors. Instead she anticipates focusing on communications, data and strategy, and polling.

Conway brings with her an interesting background. For one thing, she's the first woman to ever serve as campaign manager for a Republican presidential candidate, although she has downplayed that distinction.

“I’ve been in a very male-dominated business for decades,” she told The New Yorker in October. “I found, particularly early on, that there’s plenty of room for passion, but there’s very little room for emotion.”

She also added, “I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t be fooled, because I am a man by day.’”

Conway has a reputation for being energetic, one that can be attributed to her eight summers working on a blueberry farm in Hammonton, New Jersey. During that period she won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant and won the World Champion Blueberry Packing competition.

"The faster you went, the more money you'd make," Conway told in September. "I wouldn't stop to drink for hours. I would just keep going."

"Everything I learned about life and business started on that farm," she added.

Her entrepreneurial attitude led her to create her own consulting firm, The Polling Company, which has advised the gamut of right-wing politicians, including Jack Kemp, Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich, and Trump's future vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence. She attributes all of her success to her blue collar New Jersey background.

"I am very grateful for and nostalgic about my childhood in New Jersey," Conway said in her interview with NJ Advance Media. "I'm a Jersey girl. . . It was very important to us for our children to have that south Jersey experience."

This may have even contributed to her decision to sell her New York City apartment less than two weeks before Bill de Blasio became New York City mayor, although she gave a different reason:

"Because I wanted to count as part of the de Blasio flight to the suburbs."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway