By Mackenzie Farkus
The outcome of the 2016 election has inspired a multitude of Millennials to consider running for political office in the future.
Despite only being two months into this year, Millennials are already on the ballot for many local political positions that are up for grabs in 2017. NPR recently ran a story — titled “Did Betsy DeVos Make You Want to Run for School Board?” — on Millennials running for local school board elections in light of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ confirmation hearings.
After winning the right to run after being challenged for her young age, Mary-Pat Hector, a 19-year-old sophomore at Spelman College, is running for the District 4 City Council seat in the newly incorporated city of Stonecrest, G.A. Myya Jones, a 22-year-old senior studying business management at Michigan State University, is running for mayor of Detroit, M.I.
“We see every day that people are dying,” Jones said to the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business in an interview. “Tomorrow is never a promise.”
While the premise of campaigning may seem daunting to many people — especially Millennials — a slew of nonprofit organizations have made it easier for Millennials to access the resources they need to prepare for a future in politics.
She Should Run is a non-partisan incubator seeking to help women and girls who want to run for office in the future. The incubator is composed of free online courses that “cultivate leadership, build networks, foster communication, [and] find pathways.” She Should Run’s courses are designed to be taken once a week for four weeks and will educate women and young girls on how to craft their visions and how to gain the leadership skills needed for political office. People can also “nominate” women that they think should run for political office by sending an email through She Should Run’s website. According to Erin Loos Cutraro, the Chief Executive and Co-Founder of She Should Run, more than 5,100 women have signed up for the incubator since the 2016 election. More information about She Should Run and the incubator courses can be found on http://www.sheshouldrun.org.
Run for Something is another nonprofit organization that aims to help progressives under 35 to run for office. Although they do not have online courses, Run for Something will set up meetings with those interested in exploring a future in politics. Run for Something’s 2017 goal is to bring more young, diverse, progressive candidates to the stage in Virginia and North Carolina, although they are “willing to invest in good talent wherever it is.” More information about the organization and its mission can be found at http://www.runforsomething.net.
“Be willing to knock on doors, make calls, donate to candidates, even if they don’t inspire you, even if it’s not the cool, fancy or exciting thing to do that weekend, it helps make sure we’re not protesting every weekend,” Run for Something cofounder Amanda Litman said in an interview with Politico. “We’ll have better talent in the ranks, better state legislatures and better mayors and better city council people who share our values. Democracy is protesting, but democracy is also voting and being involved in every election regardless of who is on the ballot.”