She Should Run Member Newsletter
Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2012
Dear She Should Run Member:
It is my pleasure to introduce Clare Bresnahan, who will be taking over as Programs Director for She Should Run. Clare brings extensive development and policy experience to the job. She spent four years working for the Girl Scouts of the USA as a Public Policy and Advocate Associate and is committed to women’s issues and getting more women in public life.
As someone who plans to run for office someday, it has been a rewarding experience to provide over 170,000 women with the resources they need to make the decision to run. I am leaving She Should Run to join the Peace Corps and am grateful for the opportunity to work with so many impressive people to advance women in politics. I have no doubt that Clare will continue to encourage and help women as they make the decision to run.
In honor of the New Year and these new changes, this month, The Warm Up offers tips for getting started. Oftentimes the hardest part of deciding to run is taking the first step; here’s some advice to make it easier.
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Meet Libby Garvey
“If public service is what you want to do, don’t give up and don’t let other people discourage you.”
– Libby Garvey, candidate for Arlington County Board (Virginia)
Candidate for Arlington County Board Libby Garvey got the idea to run for office after helping a friend run for a local school board race. Garvey says she felt passionate about the issues and since no one else was willing to run to champion them, she decided to run herself. She didn’t win the first time around, but that didn’t stop her from running again.
“Never give up. If that’s what you feel called to do – and I would say for me it’s a calling – don’t ever give up. You will get discouraged but keep going.”
Garvey eventually ran for Virginia State Delegate, something she says she never considered until the sitting Delegate – another woman – asked her to run. Most women don’t think to run until they are asked, so ask one! Garvey jumped into the race, but she faced a male opponent who had been thinking about running for much longer. He was thus better prepared and won. Garvey says it’s important for women to start thinking about running for office early. You never know when the opportunity to run will present itself.
Garvey is currently running for Arlington County Board. Two weeks ago, she won the Democratic primary and will run in the special election March 6th. Even if they are initially unsuccessful, Garvey encourages women all the across the country to run for office as many times as it takes.
"I think it’s very important that women run. I also think that women need to support women. We need to be supporting women who run for office, by working for them, giving them money, and ultimately voting for them.”
To learn more about Libby Garvey:
Visit her website.
Like her on Facebook.
Follow her on Twitter.
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Consultant’s Take: Jessica Grounds, Solid Grounds Strategy
“Run for the highest level seat that you feel passionate about. Women tend to get stuck in lower level offices because they tend not to run for the higher level office first.”
– Jessica Grounds, President, Solid Grounds Strategy
For any woman who has recently decided she wants to run for office, Jessica Grounds, the President of Solid Grounds Strategy, has three easy steps to get started:
First, pick your issue. “What policy areas do you want to impact as a legislator? Figure out what issue areas you are passionate about. Then, think about what office affects those policy areas most.” Are you passionate about the environment? Then, the school board may not be the place for you.
Second, get ready. Even if the seat you’re interested in isn’t available, Grounds says, start preparing to run for it. That includes reaching out to people who know what it’s like to run for that seat: a former campaign manager, a local party official, a former candidate, or even the incumbent.
“It’s a wonderful relationship to build on, not only in terms of them being able to potentially endorse you as the next candidate, but also in terms of asking them what they did to win that seat. Who were their main constituency groups? How much money did they raise? What were their main modes of communication? What kind of fundraising was successful?”
Third, network like it's your job. Women often feel they are starting from scratch when they run for office, but Grounds says all women have an established network they can tap into. “You want to find the issues that are the hot-topic for that seat and figure out where you fit in. If you are a teacher or a local businesswoman, for example, you will want to continue to develop and build those networks as a starting point.”
Grounds has worked on a wide range of races, from local school board to presidential campaigns. She encourages women at all stages in their decision to run for office to reach out to political consultants earlier rather than later, even if it’s just for an informational interview. “It’s free advice and it can make a big difference!”
For more information about Jessica Grounds visit her website.
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Tip Sheet: Is this seat taken?
We want to hear from you. Based on the advice from Libby Garvey and Jessica Grounds, have you started thinking about which seat you want to run for some day? Given the issues you are passionate about, what would be your ideal office to hold?
Let us know in this 30-second survey so we can help you get started!
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