Recognized for her sharp commentary and fresh perspective, Tamara Holder is never afraid to speak her mind. A Colorado native, Holder got her television start as a frequent guest on major news channels including CNN , HLN and TruTV. She soon signed as an exclusive contributor and guest host for the FOX News Channel where she's weighed in on some of the country ’s most heated political and legal topics, including the two trials of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the trial of George Zimmerman and, of course, the constant turmoil between Democrats and Republicans. Whatever the issue, she brings a bold point of view to the conversation with spirited remarks and an impressive liberal attitude.
1. Why did you get into media and journalism? Are those reasons still true for why you are still in the business?
I love that the news is a constantly-changing, endless variety of story-telling. If you like sports, you can read a newspaper’s sports section, subscribe to Sports Illustrated, and watch ESPN. If you like politics, you can watch FOX News or other cable outlets, and choose to read only about local elections or international peace agreements. Tomorrow’s stories will always be different from those of today, as will your horoscope, the day’s advice column, and the political landscape.
Additionally, every story, regardless of its subject, allows for us to form an opinion (of which I have many)!
That are some unique challenges women in this field face as compared to the men? How did you overcome those challenges?
For me, there is no such thing as overcoming the challenge of being a woman in television. Whether you’re a woman or man in this industry, it is uber-competitive. There is no time to slack because someone else is always in the wings. The intense competition gets me up in the morning; it tells me to go on a run and burn some calories.
My boss at FOX News, Roger Ailes, is a genius. He proved that women on television can be sexy and trusted. He flipped the term “dumb blondes” on its head. In 1996, Mr. Ailes put Catherine Crier on the nighttime news, when it was strictly a man’s space. Now look at FOX News: gorgeous women are hosting prime time shows and Fox is #1 in cable news.
3. You talk about politics a lot. What are the most important changes you believe should be made on a national level?
One change that must occur: both sides of the political aisle must stop the divisiveness and witch-hunting. Our elected leaders must be forced to collectively tackle our nation’s problems.
I will never forget a recent speech by former-Vice President Dan Quayle: He spoke about how the Hill used to be, how politicians did not fly in-and-out of D.C. to their home state. Instead, they lived next door to each other year-round. They dined together. Their kids went to school together. This dynamic no longer exists. How about a bill that forces Congress to live in D.C.? I like that idea!
4. What's it like being a liberal on Fox News, a notoriously conservative channel?
FOX gets beaten up a lot for being such a conservative place but my experience as one of their commentators is that I have never been told what to say, or what not to say. I have openly flip-flopped on Obamacare, and they are ok with a change of opinion (as long as it can be explained).
Nobody enjoys a good political fight more than I do. Sure, the atmosphere is contentious but that is why working at FOX is fun!
5. Can you tell me a bit more about your work with filing petitions for Pardon and Clemency? Why does this interest you?
My favorite part of being an attorney is filing petitions for clemency – a formal request for forgiveness of a past crime. (Which is why I founded xpunged.com immediately upon my graduation from law school. Even though I am licensed to practice law in Illinois, I can file pardons in any state.)
The words clemency and pardon are often used interchangeably – it is (generally) the only remedy for someone with a felony conviction. Only the governor of the state where one was convicted (or the president if it is a federal conviction) can grant a pardon.
Unfortunately, pardons have a negative image in our society. I can’t tell you how many people say, “I wish I could refer someone to you but I don’t know anyone in prison!”
Here is an important fact that many people do not know: the majority of persons in need of a pardon are not in prison, nor did they ever serve time in prison, nor are they convicted child molesters and murders. Rather, the person committed a crime many years ago, never went to prison but was sentenced to probation. Now, that person is a parent, homeowner, coworker, and contributing member of society.
For example, one of my clients is seeking a pardon for breaking into a car when he was 18. He is now 40 year old. His felony conviction is preventing him from working on a natural gas pipeline along the Canadian border. Another client stole a saddle when he was 20 years old. After he was sentenced to probation, he enlisted in the Army, and served three tours of duty in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Despite his military service, his felony conviction prevents him from his lifelong dream of becoming a fireman.
Asking a governor for forgiveness is truly fulfilling work. I get to show that a person can become a contributing member of society despite a run-in with the law.
6. How would you describe yourself in three words?
Loyal. Passionate. Fun.