Why I Ran For Congress at 25, and Why I Think More Women Should Run, Too
One thing has become abundantly clear through this election: we need more women in public office. Even in 2016, women still make up only about 20 percent of the Senate, the House, and mayoral offices. That's where She Should Run comes in—the talent incubator and motivation-minded organization is dedicated to reminding women that they should be tossing their hat into the electoral ring. We talked to 2016's youngest congressional candidate, Erin Schrode, about what it means to run for office at 25, how to move beyond defeat, and why America needs more millennials in office. As told to Hillary Kelly.
I don't see myself as a politician. Never have, never will.
But in early March of 2016, I gave a speech in my hometown—I’ve been working as an environmental activist and entrepreneur for a dozen years—and I talked about the impact of place. It was about my life, my values, my professional path, my identity. I walked offstage and people said, "How do we get you to run for office?" I looked at them like they were out of their minds. I don't fit the mold of a politician.
I thought, I'm a 24-year old woman. I don't have any pedigree. I don't have family who's ever run for office. I haven't spent decades in corporate boardrooms or law offices. I haven't previously held elected office. There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t run. There were 11 days between that speech and the filing deadline to run for Congress in my home county, and 70 days until the election itself—and I’d be running against a longtime incumbent for the Democratic seat. In fact, I’d be running against three people almost twice my age. Dale Mensing, the Republican candidate, is 58 years old. Jared Huffman, the Democratic incumbent, is 52 years old. The Independent, Matthew Wookey, is 39. All of them are white men.
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