I sat down and shared with HerCampus all of the things that have driven and inspired me to run for US Congress - and what continues to fuel the #ErinForUs fire.
by Crystel Mallouf
At twenty-four years old, you would not expect someone so young to consider running for Congress. Erin Schrode defies this notion because her campaign for Congress began almost two months ago before she turned 25, the age to be eligible for Congress. If Erin is elected into office, she will be the youngest congresswoman elected. Erin is prepared to break down barriers, and create a new environment for California’s District Two.
In an interview with Erin, she explains how everything in her life has contributed to where she is now,
“I am so grateful to be brought up here in Northern California because it has impacted me in profound ways. I grew up eating organic food from local farms, doing science experiments in the bay and hiking beautiful trails. My mother instilled in me a sense of stewardship from a very young age, and we cofounded Turning Green when I was thirteen years old.”
Starting a nonprofit at such a young age is important to Erin and seeing other young people doing the same proves how they can make a change. For Erin, it is an important demographic to reach out to because you are setting people on a lifelong journey of activism and involvement.
Aside from starting a nonprofit organization, Erin’s experiences around the world from visiting Ghana and implementing a recycling infrastructure to building a school in the Middle East, have made her a better global citizen and equipped her to better deliver solutions for the country and at her home in District Two.
Erin has a very supportive team around her, and when she was asked about the driving force behind her campaign, she was very humble in her response. She explained how she never imagined running, but at the same time it is just a natural extension of the work she had been doing. The real force behind the campaign for Congress is her mom.
“My mom is a driving force in everything I do in my life. She gives me the wings to fly, but she challenges me as well which I need and appreciate.”
Along with her mom, her friends are a key part of her life.
“My friends, when I first started entertaining the idea [of running for Congress], after giving a speech a month and a half ago, I expected them to put me in my place. But my best friend said there are a million reasons why you should wait, but why not run while you wait.”
Even with having a solid support team, Erin has dealt with setbacks and self-doubt, and she still relies on her friends. She also remembers that this is about purpose not position. Erin emphasizes that this is not about her. It is about public service and being a steward to the world.
“I am on a lifelong mission of public service. This is where I feel like I can best contribute and I just have to remember that. I just have to keep my focus and remember why I got into this and why I am doing this.”
Erin describes how it is rough to run for Congress, and it turned out to be harder than she imagined, but she has a clear vision. She is in this for the public because she sees a bright future ahead.
“I am in this for the purpose. I am in this for the greater good. I am not going anywhere.”
Erin is determined to create valuable change. She is running on three platforms: environmental health, education, and human rights. If she is elected, she plans on implementing her ideas right away. In both the environmental and public health pillar, Erin is excited about carbon farming. The process is meant to reverse the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Erin knows that both money and technology are needed to execute the plan, but she believes this will be beneficial to District Two’s vast space of agricultural land. A key focus in public health is food safety and food labeling because she believes there is still a long way to go regarding consumer right to know and consumer health. In education, Erin confirms there is a need for accessible, affordable, and relevant education for the youth. Concerning human rights, Erin plans to focus on women’s rights. She will continue to push for equal pay and women’s reproductive rights.
Erin is ready to fight for what she believes because she is capable of making change happen. Although she is young, she is wise beyond her years. When discussing the best piece of advice she had been given, she refers to her life motto, “Dream to do.”
“It might not be advice, but those are words to live by. To dream those crazy dreams. To be the ones that Steve Jobs talks about, but then to ground it in actions. That begins with every single individual, and I love that.”
Erin suggests that every person has the potential to make their dreams a reality as long as they are committed to making the change.
Should the world be looking out for Erin’s presidential campaign in the near future? Maybe. But for Erin, it is about purpose not position. Her main focus is California’s District Two. She affirms she is a public servant, and wants to serve the people.
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