Why I Ran for Office
By Yael Kohen
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 Ive never had a blueprint. Ive 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 wasnt 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 dont you run for the school board? My instinctive response was, Im 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.