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December 9, 2007

Why I Ran for Office

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Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
“My mother always encouraged me to go the extra mile, but she certainly did not think in terms of my having a career — I grew up in a time when that was not happening nearly as often as it is today. So I’ve never had a blueprint. I’ve found that when you put your energy and your time into something you believe in, it just moves you forward.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
“When my daughter was born, she was very sick. No one knew what was wrong, and then I was kicked out of the hospital after 24 hours because that was the rule. I wasn’t in elected office at the time — I was a lawyer at a law firm — but I went to the legislature and got one of the first bills passed in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay. Seeing that you can actually get something done as a citizen in the legislature gave me faith that government could get things done. And so a few years later, I ran for county attorney, and I won that election.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
“I was a member of the League of Women Voters in the ’70s. I attended local city-council and school-board meetings as a public observer. The goal was to encourage public accountability of elected officials. I went to countless meetings, many times as the only person representing the general public. During one meeting of an all-male school board, a local radio reporter said, ‘These guys are incompetent. Why don’t you run for the school board?’ My instinctive response was, ‘I’m not qualified.’ But I quickly realized that I was indeed more qualified than they were. I did run for the school board. I lost the first race and learned a valuable lesson: A loss in an election is sometimes more about timing than qualifications. I thought that perhaps the timing would be right the second time. Two years later I won.”

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