Now is the Time to Run for Office!

China Dickerson | Jan 27, 2023


I’ve been asked to run for office at least 100 times, and that is not an exaggeration. I guess it makes sense; I recruit, train, and advise women and people of color running for public office. And it’s not just my job–I have a great appreciation for civic engagement. As a Black woman, proud of my Black American roots, I understand and honor the fight of my ancestors to realize a country that is equitable and embraces the people who’ve built it. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn’t just happen–people cried and died for it to happen. Politics and civic engagement matter. But in all honesty, I haven’t been interested in running for office…until now. Last year, encouraged by an email from someone I respect, I decided to run for Commissioner for my Dupont Circle Neighborhood in Washington, and I won. What made this time different? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. Here is what I did know: I could win. And you can too!

If you have ever considered running for office, even just a little bit, now is the time. Our country has never been more diverse, more tolerant, more in need of young women to enter our city halls, state capitals, school boards, and congressional floor. Of course, it takes more to run for office than just ambition. Who wants to run just to lose? Well, what is also true is that we are at a peak winning season for women candidates.

In the 2022 election cycle, dozens of women were added to our legislatures and executive offices. Many of these women are under 40 years old. This tracks with the high turnout of young people in this election. We also saw a new class of Black and Latino electeds. People like me fight for better representation in our decision-making bodies because how does one legislate a population or experience that they are unfamiliar with or are unwilling to become familiar with? Women comprise more than half of the US population. Black people make up close to 14% and Latinos are nearing 20%, but those numbers are not matched in our leadership. We need reflective representation.

So on to the important question – how will you run and win? Women have different considerations than men when deciding whether to run for office. How will I pay my bills as I am campaigning? Who will vote for me? How will I raise money? Am I smart enough to do the policy piece? Will people like me? Will my family need to engage, and to what extent? How much will I be paid to be an elected? Lucky for you, there are many organizations encouraging, training, and supporting women to run for office including American University Women & Politics Institute’s WeLead, a non-partisan campaign training program for women.

If you have ever considered running for office and you don’t see yourself reflected in the traditional image of a candidate, you ARE the ideal candidate. You are what our country wants and more importantly, what our country needs. We have your back, so, just do it!

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