Former Obama Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett on 'Finding My Voice' and one thing she'd change before 2016 election

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Valerie Jarrett is the Obamas' closest confidante and the longest-serving member of President Barack Obama's administration.

More recently, she was the subject of Roseanne Barr's racist tweet that led the actress to lose her namesake show.

MORE: Valerie Jarrett says there's a difference between "Me Too" movement and Biden accusations

But did you know Valerie Jarrett's life began in Iran? In one of the first chapters of her new memoir, "Finding My Voice," Jarrett describes the discrimination that led her parents to move to Iran to find opportunities that her father was unable to find here in the U.S. in the 1950's. Jarrett says, "He stopped being a black doctor and he started becoming an American doctor. And I think his confidence grew and it enabled him to really raise me with the spirit I was able to go over the color line and be whatever I wanted to do."

After finding no satisfaction being a corporate lawyer as a single mother, Jarrett went into city government. She was working in Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's administration in 1991 when she interviewed the First Lady, then Michelle Robinson, for a job. "When I met her, she just blew me away. Competent, committed, wanted to give back to the city. Gave her a job offer on the spot. She said 'let me think about it.' Called me back and said 'my fiance doesn't think it's such a great idea.' I said well who's your fiance and why do we care what he thinks"? The fiance was Barack Obama. The three had an instant connection, which would later lead to a long friendship and partnership as Obama entered politics and eventually the White House.

Jarrett says although Michelle Obama made juggling her role as First Lady and mother to Malia and Sasha look effortless, it was always a struggle.

As a single mom, Jarrett and Mrs. Obama often discussed the challenges of finding balance, the working mom guilt and giving up the notion of being super woman. "You have to speak up for what you need and what you want, and you have to ask for help."

In "Finding My Voice," Jarrett describes the surprise and grief among the Obama staff after President Trump won the election over Hillary Clinton. She says had they been able to foresee those results, they would have done more of one thing: "I think impressing upon people that the most important civic activity they can engage in is voting." Jarrett points out, "43% of eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 Presidential election." She and Mrs. Obama have started a non-partisan non-profit called "When We All Vote".

As for Roseanne Barr's tweet, Jarrett says she has said little about it because it's not about her or even Barr. She says it's symptomatic of a bigger issue in this country. "If we have policy differences, then let's discuss those policy differences. Let's not call each other names."

Jarrett is speaking in the Bay Area at the following locations on April 11th.

Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco at 12 p.m.

Dominican University in San Rafael at 7 p.m.


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