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Another brick in the wall

You should run (for office)

Photo: Taelar Pollmann ⋅ The Sentry

I recently attended a forum hosted by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, which I covered in this week’s issue, on how women can get more involved in politics, including running for office.

The  panelists discussed barriers to access when it comes to running for office, including the time commitment of campaigning full-time and the financial cost of running for office.

 As many women who run for office realize, there’s also the issue that some people are reluctant to see women, minorities, or people of color as leaders.

This issue is particularly troubling to me. I’ve been following politics closely for many years, working on political campaigns around the country before starting my graduate program at CU Denver. 

Over the years, I’ve thought about when I was growing up, no one saw me as being someone who’d even be interested in politics, let alone running for office. In high school, my male classmates were approached to run for student government positions, but I never was.

I think my Aunt Barb, who’s always been supportive of my academic and professional pursuits, was the first person who said I should run for president. She was probably mostly joking, but I knew her message was to tell me I’m capable of it.

Unfortunately, even working in politics I didn’t get this kind of support from many of my colleagues. I was often relegated to supporting roles on campaigns rather than leadership roles.

Will I run for office one day? Possibly. My husband, parents, and friends think I should. I’ll think about it when I’m at point when it will be easier to take on the time commitment and financial burden.

I also think of a lot of my female friends who are so intelligent, knowledgeable, and passionate about issues they care about. I don’t know if anyone’s suggested running for office for them, but they should. 

I see many of my classmates and students around the Auraria campus who are actively working to make a difference in our community. They should run, too.

My hope is that we reach a place where there isn’t one type of background that is used as an indicator for who can run for office. All our experiences deserve to be represented.

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