Feeling underrepresented in Decision Making at the Big Table?
The stakes are high and you are feeling it is time to take that step towards using your voice for greater good. We have the information to help you get inspired and prepared for your Successful launch into Politics.
At the start of the 117th Congress in 2021, there were 26 women serving in the U.S. Senate, a historic high. However, this number dropped to 24 on Jan. 20, soon after the start of the congressional term, as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) became vice president and was replaced by a male appointee and Raphael Warnock, the winner of the Georgia runoff election, replaced Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). Of the 24 female senators, 16 are Democrats and eight are Republicans. Twenty-one of these women are White, while one is Hispanic and two are Asian American. There are no Black women currently serving in the Senate. The first woman in the Senate was Rebecca Felton (D-Ga.), who was appointed to the seat as a political maneuver in 1922 and served just one day. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.), who served in the Senate from 1978 to 1997, was the first female senator who was not initially elected to fill an unexpired congressional term.
We had the opportunity to speak with
Simona Grace from Moms in Office
Could you please tell Moms’ about your Organization?
Moms in Office is a political action committee dedicated to supporting and electing moms to public office.
I founded Moms in Office after the 2018 midterm elections. I was inspired by Katie Porter’s campaign and witnessed it first hand just how much harder women with caregiving responsibilities have to work to fundraise and get elected. I also became well aware of the bias and discrimination women face from donors as well as from voters. I wanted to change this and help women and level the playing field. While we are far from gender parity in government, moms with children under 18 make up just 5% of Congress. Women have to delay their entry into politics and many well qualified women can’t run for office because of the lack of support.
How can Moms become involved in the counties, municipalities (cities and town), special districts, and school districts?
I believe moms are especially qualified to become involved in politics because we care deeply about the future of our children and we know how to put the needs of our community first. Reaching out to local Democratic clubs as well as serving on a commission is a great way to start. During an election year there are many possibilities to volunteer for campaigns. While volunteering requires a time commitment, many campaigns offer roles that is easy to do from home such as writing postcards to voters or phone banking.
What are the first steps to take to get a plan in action?
The first step to take to get a plan in action is to be very clear about the reason for wanting to get elected, our way. Look into the best way to affect change, sometimes that is volunteering, other times it is taking on a role of an activist and often it is through being in elected office. It’s very important to focus on the why and decide on the role or office that would offer the greatest opportunity to create change. For example, if someone is passionate about improving educational outcomes, school board would be the right choice. Working on policies on the local level that would improve the standard of living for our community is often possible when elected to the city council. Policies such as improving and expanding access fo universal free preschool could be done on the state level as well as on the federal level. Many positions are unpaid or don’t offer a full time salary. It’s important to also consider the practicality of that. After being certain about the change we want to affect in our communities and deciding on what elected office would serve us best, have conversations with elected officials, family, friends, local clubs and organizations and ask for their help. It’s imports to note, always ask for their support.
Who do we need on our team?
Depending on what office you are running for, at the beginning it is just going to be you and maybe a campaign manager or volunteer. There are organizations like Close the Gap California who offer great guidance before launching a campaign and can put you in touch with consultants or fundraisers if needed. You will begin recruiting more staff, volunteers and field operations after the filing deadline, possibly 3 months before the primary. At the beginning, you can do a lot of it yourself with one trusted volunteer or campaign manager.
What advise do have for Moms inspired to make a difference?
Don’t be afraid to ask for support and get comfortable with asking for money. Your ability to fundraise will determine your viability and the success of your campaign. Don’t second guess your qualifications, you are more qualified than you think. Running for office is a lot of learning and doing at the same time, they don’t teach this in college. It’s ok to learn on the way, you will learn and get better! Stay true to who you are and stay authentic. Remember your why when things get tough. Running for office is one of the hardest things you could do, but it’s worth it because we can create change that our communities deserve.