DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds encouraged a Cedar Rapids woman to “embrace your fear” and use it as a catalyst for achieving her goal of running for public office.
“Don’t be afraid to step through some of that uncertainty that you might feel when you’re passionate about doing something,” the governor told Sonia Elossais, a Coe College senior majoring in political science.
At an Unleashing Opportunity stop in Marion, Elossais, who plans to attend law school after graduating this year, asked Reynolds what advice she would have for young women who are thinking about running for office.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics, Elossais is not alone. The center has seen a spike in women running for office. In addition to increases at the local and Statehouse candidates, the center reported that the number of women running for Congress jumped from 200 in 2016 to 392 in this election cycle. The number of women running to become governor has increased from 28 to 68.
Reynolds encouraged Elossais to dream big because “anything is possible.
“I certainly never thought that I would one day be serving as the governor of this amazing state,” she said Saturday.
“What I’ve found is that every time you have that uncertainty, if you face it, walk through it, you grow as an individual and gain confidence,” said Reynolds, a Republican who served in county office before being elected to the Iowa Senate and lieutenant governor. “I think you realize that you can, in fact, make a difference and do great things.”
She recommended anyone thinking about a future run for office to get involved in a campaign.
Reynolds’ advice was “absolutely helpful to let people like me know it’s OK to be nervous.”
“It’s huge to see a woman in high offices,” added Elossais.
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Reynolds also encouraged that young people — male and female — consider seeking an appointment a state board or commission. The governor makes appointments to about 200 boards and commissions providing input and oversight on everything from accountancy to workforce development.
“We really want to know what you want Iowa to look like in the future,” Reynolds said. “We want to create an Iowa where young people like you want to stay and be a part of this great state.”
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