Abby Miller is a Wahpeton, North Dakota native, NDSU graduate, campaign finance assistant and radio producer. Not all at once of course, but at 24 years-old her life experiences rival that of someone twice her age. Miller grew up in Wahpeton and is the daughter of Perry and Denise Miller. Miller also has two older siblings.
She attended Wahpeton Public Schools her entire K-12
education. Miller would go on to attend North Dakota State
University, where she graduated in 2019 with a major in strategic communications with an emphasis on public relations and a minor in
Her interest in politics comes from her father Perry.
“My dad has always been politically active whether that’s county commissioner, city council and he ran for the state legislature. Being exposed to him and being around him, I was always interested in politics and just how government works” Miller said.
Miller would get a personal insight into the ins and outs of politics during her college years. Before she graduated, she took time off to work on Heidi Heitkamp’s senatorial campaign as the finance assistant during the 2018 midterms. It was a hotly contested race, that Heitkamp ultimately lost.
Undeterred, Miller would go on to work at another campaign after graduating as a call time manager, this time for Christiana Hale, the Democratic nominee for Indiana’s 5th congressional district. Both of her positions revolved around fundraising.
It was a monumental moment for Miller, as it was her first time moving far from home. It wasn’t so far away that she couldn’t see her family, but it was far enough that it gave her the chance to be on her own.
“It was a little tougher, with Heidi Heitkamp, I grew up knowing her, and I obviously knew the state very well living here my whole life. So moving to Indiana, it’s a similar state in the rural sense, but also Indianapolis is a huge city. Getting to know the state and the people and the demographics of the state made it a bit more challenging, which is what I wanted. That’s why I went there,” she said.
Even though she wasn’t covering a whole state this time, she was still working just as hard and just as late into the night, sometimes finally catching a break to text her parents at 3 a.m. who weren’t thrilled to see their daughter up so late.
Hale’s campaign was also unsuccessful, but that doesn’t stop Miller from reflecting positively on her experiences.
“I worked for two Democratic women and that’s just who I supported. I wanted them both, either re-elected or elected into office. I think working — whether it’s on a campaign or non-profit or whatever — for someone or something that you truly believe in makes the work a lot more rewarding. That’s a huge reason why I was drawn to it,” Miller said.
Even though she may have been working with far less sleep than necessary and every waking moment seemed to be about the campaigns, the experiences were rewarding. She loved the challenge and she knows she didn’t leave anything on the table.
The days of 3 a.m. texts to her parents are now behind her because in November she became a producer for “News and Views with Joel Heitkamp” at KFGO in Fargo.
“I basically stand behind the board of 10 million buttons and five computer screens and kind of run the show,” Miller said.
She talks with Heitkamp on-air, records promotions and helps set up interviews for future shows.
It’s a lot of responsibility, but just like when she was working on campaigns, she’s able to manage her stress and not get flustered. Her experiences and the multitasking skills gained from campaigning have translated well into her new line of work.
Another aspect of her job is keeping a pulse on current events in North Dakota, something she enjoys because it allows her
to talk to people all across the state. She also enjoys being
closer to home.
“One of the first weeks, Joel looked at me while I was doing a million different things in the back and said, ‘Yep, she’ll be fine,’ because he could tell I didn’t look stressed,” Miller said.