'Hey, It's Jess': Meet Woman Behind Clinton Campaign Texts | NBC Connecticut
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

'Hey, It's Jess': Meet Woman Behind Clinton Campaign Texts

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    "Hey, it's Jess" is often the beginning of text messages the Hillary Clinton campaign sends to more than 1 million subscribers. Jess herself, digital organizer Jessica Morales Rocketto, talks about the messages and photos people send in response. (Published Friday, Oct. 28, 2016)

    The woman behind the "Hey, it's Jess" text messages that the Hillary Clinton campaign sends to more than 1 million subscribers says recipients send back photos of their families, their pets -- and in one case -- themselves riding a llama.

    "We've been texting for over a year, since Hillary launched her campaign last year, so at this point people really feel like they know me," Jessica Morales Rocketto said.

    If you receive the Clinton campaign's text messages, you know about Jess.

    "Hey, it's Jess," texts from the campaign often begin before asking recipients to donate, hear what Donald Trump thinks about issues or win a chance to ride on Clinton's campaign plane.

    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    Jess texts some people more than their significant others, some recipients have said on social media, and sends enough messages that iPhones suggest adding her as a contact.

    Morales Rocketto told News4 that subscribers are often surprised to hear she's a real person.

    "It's not a robot. I get that question a lot. 'Are you a robot?' Nope! I'm not," she said Thursday, speaking from her home via Skype.

    Morales Rocketto is digital organizing director for Hillary for America. She's 30 years old, grew up in Los Angeles and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, two cats and a dog.

    She said she has been surprised by how often people respond to the texts. She and campaign mobile strategist Lloyd Cotler send replies.

    "We really do look at as many messages as we can and try to respond," she said.

    The texts are part of a "multimillion-dollar fundraising operation over SMS," Morales Rocketto said. The subscriber list is still growing less than two weeks before the election, she said.

    The texts are reaching people young and old, with an English list and a Spanish list. Even a message with a GIF of Clinton brushing off her shoulders -- a joke that perhaps speaks to a younger crowd -- was sent to everyone, regardless of age, Morales Rocketto said.

    "We try to make sure that what we're saying is broad enough for everyone to enjoy," she said.

    She and Cotler write the texts, and they go through a "pretty lengthy approval process."

    "Obviously, talking to millions of people, we don't just press send," she said.

    Among Morales Rocketto's favorites responses to the texts have been the Twitter hashtag #JessIsBae and notes from people who said "I feel like we're best friends," she said.

    Many interactions have been more substantive, Morales Rocketto said.

    Earlier this month, the campaign sent a text message asking recipients if they had questions about voting in their state. The campaign said someone would reply with an answer within 24 hours.

    "We got tens of thousands of messages from people asking us 'Where can I early vote?' 'What's my polling place? 'Do I have to bring ID?' People are really hungry to engage with us," she said.

    Asked to react to the criticism that the campaign is sending too many texts, Morales Rocketto said that data shows the number is just right.

    "Although we do hear occasionally from people that they hear from us quite a bit, people also really like the messages and they're not unsubscribing," she said. "We try hard not to send a message that isn't interesting or delightful or important to come into your inbox, but with only a couple of weeks until the election, we certainly have quite a lot of information to make sure we tell voters."

    Morales Rocketto called working for the campaign a longtime dream.

    "When I was 8 or 9 years old, I told my mom that I was going to be the first woman president, except if Hillary Clinton was the first woman president, then I would be the second woman president and I would work for her," she said.

    What's next for Morales Rocketto? That's to be determined.

    "I'm really focused on making sure Hillary gets elected president," she said.