12 Women In Politics Who Are Running For The First Time

By Elizabeth Strassner

After Donald Trump was declared the president-elect on Nov. 9, many American women felt discouraged by the election. After the country came so close to having its first female president, many wondered when the next opportunity for one would be. However, since Trump's inauguration, it has become clear that women are pushing harder than ever to earn the equal political representation they deserve. As of late April, EMILY's List, a group that works to train women to run for office, has reported 1000 percent increase in the number of women running for office since the election.

Many of these women, moreover, are entering political life for the first time. These new candidates for office are part of a major resurgence in political activism that has seized the country since January. As graphic designer Alyson Leahy told CNN, the election "made me realize that everyday involvement is key, and that I couldn't afford to sit around anymore sharing Facebook posts and avoiding real work." Now, Leahy is running for a seat on Wisconsin's Marathon County Board.

Congressmen have been flooded with calls and messages from constituents about everything from health care to Cabinet nominations; marches for the rights of women, in support of science, and calling for revelation of the president's tax returns have brought millions of Americans into the streets. And more women than ever before are thinking of making a run for office.

"Protest is the new brunch," one recent sign famously declared. These protests have now blossomed into entire political campaigns, as anti-Trump voters – particularly female ones — seek to replace the elected officials at all levels of government with whom they disagree.

1. Alejandra Campoverdi - California's 34th Congressional District

 Alejandra Campoverdi's resume includes a degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and time as a White House aide for Barack Obama. She told Refinery29 that her genetic risk of breast cancer motivated her to run for Congress. "If women's bodies are to be the battleground, we'll best steel ourselves for a relentless war of independence together," she wrote in an April essay.

2. Myya Jones - Mayorship of Detroit, Michigan

When Myya Jones announced that she was running for mayor of Detroit, she was still enrolled as a student at Michigan State University. Jones, who graduated earlier this month, is also encouraging other young people to get involved. In an interview with Jopwell, a recruitment site for "talented diverse candidates from the most underrepresented minority groups," Jones said:

We can no longer sit back and wait for things to change or allow other people to tell us that we’re too young or inexperienced to make it happen ourselves. No more fearing the unknown. It is imperative that we are a part of the process. This country belongs to us.

3. Lacey Rzeszowski - New Jersey State Assembly, 21st District 

Lacey Rzeszowski had been a strong advocate for gun control for years, The New York Times reported, but finally decided to run for office herself after the Women's March. "Well now I know what my Dad always said to me — to do something right, you have to do it yourself," Rzeszowski wrote in a blog post on her campaign website. "And I am here to tell you that I won't stop until I get to the State House and get some safe and sane, common sense gun laws on the books."

4. Kathryn Allen - Utah's 3rd Congressional District

Utah's 3rd district is currently represented by Jason Chaffetz, the chair of the House Oversight Committee and noted critic of Hillary Clinton's private email server. Even before Chaffetz announced he wouldn't be running for re-election, Kathryn Allen was planning to challenge him for his seat. After attending a town hall where Chaffetz was chastised by constituents for his views on health care, Allen, who is a medical doctor, decided to run herself. "I came away from that meeting feeling like [Chaffetz] was a poor public servant who was out of touch with his constituents," Allen told USA Today.

5. Emily Marburger - Mayorship of Bellevue, Pennsylvania

Emily Marburger, who just won the local Democratic primary, is running for mayor of Bellevue, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. "[I] just really evaluated my past experience and my talents and abilities against what a mayor does; I just decided to go for it," Marburger told Bustle last month.

6. Paige Strasbaugh - Woodland Hills School Board

View image on Twitter
 

Paige Strasbaugh is a former teacher and an alum of Emerge Pennsylvania, the Keystone State's branch of a national organization that aims to identify women who'd be good candidates for office and encourage them to run. Strasbaugh's campaign website tells the story of a student she had whose prospects were severely limited by poor standardized test performance. "There are plenty of students like mine in Woodland Hills, students who are full of promise and hope that their efforts are heading toward something incredible," she wrote in a post on her campaign website. "Public education promises that it will give students the opportunity to excel and to accomplish their goals."

7. Felicita Monteblanco - Tualatin Hills, Oregon, Parks and Recreation Board

In a recent candidates forum, according to the Beaverton Valley Times, Felicita Monteblanco explained that she wanted to focus on making the area's parks accessible to all, including people with disabilities, and that she looked forward to sharing her new campaign knowledge with "peers, young people, and communities of color."

8. Rebecca Rhynhart - Philadelphia Controller

Rebecca Rhynhart is taking on her city's incumbent controller because she believes he isn't doing his job well. "After three terms as Controller, he has plenty of headlines, but few substantive accomplishments. I have the financial experience to make our government more efficient and I'll put getting results ahead of politics and publicity," the Democratic candidate wrote on her campaign website.

9. Kellie Lynn Collins - Georgia's 10th Congressional District

Kellie Lynn Collins is running for the seat currently occupied by Rep. Jody Hice, who ran unopposed in 2016. Collins has criticized her opponent's stances on women's health, the role of religion in politics, and LGBTQ rights, among other issues.

"When your friends and family are depending on you to make ethical decisions that affect their lives for many years, a member of Congress should hold her or himself to a much higher standard than the bare minimum that many GOP members are currently using as a benchmark," Collins told Girls Really Rule in a recent interview.

10. Debra Rodman - Virginia House of Delegates, 73rd District

Debra Rodman, a university professor, former Fulbright scholar, and mother of two, recently won the Democratic nomination for her district's seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, one of two houses in the state's bicameral legislature. "Nothing else matters if you can't find a job," Rodman explains on her campaign site. "And while Donald Trump and the Richmond Republicans talk a great game on the economy, their actions tell a different story."

11. Hannah Selinger - New York's 1st Congressional District

Hannah Selinger recently announced her campaign against Rep. Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican congressman known for his support of Donald Trump. "It was easy to become complacent during the past 8 years," Selinger wrote on her campaign's GoFundMe page. "Let us move past complacency. Long Island can be better. So let's make it better together."

12. Jana Lynne Sanchez - Texas's 6th Congressional District

According to her website, Texas native Jana Lynne Sanchez is running for office because she is opposed to career politicians:

I believe citizen representatives should go to D.C. and represent our interests for only a short time, and then return to the district to continue serving. I am fully in support of strict term limits.

Put Yourself On The Ballot

Learn about the Emerge program and how to apply:

Support Our Work

Emerge Pennsylvania needs your help to expand our training.