I have been interested in American history and the electoral process since as long as I can remember. As a child growing up in Washington D.C., I took every opportunity to attend political rallies and events from my childhood, well into my teenage years, which influenced my pursuit to study politics in college. I was both fascinated and empowered by the courage and strength of many elected officials and their dedication to making a positive difference in the lives of others through governance. I have always been vocal and involved with a multitude of political issues. As I grew older, I saw just how difficult the political field is for women, and I knew that I needed to put myself into politics to make government more representative of women and to eliminate the negative culture that deters women from pursuing political careers.
When I was 16 years old I convinced my dad to take me out of school and take me to the Texas presidential primary where he was reporting. After a long debate with my parents, they agreed, and I traveled to Texas where I got to see now President Barack Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Mike Huckabee. It was after this experience that I was certain I wanted to pursue politics as a career path. I joined my high school debate team the following semester to sharpen my debate skills and expand my knowledge on a multitude of issues and policy matters. My experience with speech and debate led me to my congressional ambitions. When I went to college I got involved with student government and organizations that work to increase the numbers of women serving in office. I am currently a Running Start Fellow working on Capitol Hill, which has been extraordinarily rewarding and empowering. Because I have a strong and inspirational woman as my boss, I am even more certain than ever that I am destined to serve in elected office one day.
My participation in the Miss America Organization has been perhaps one of my most profound experiences as I have competed with the platform of equipping young women with leadership skills and inspiring them to pursue office. The public speaking, platform, interview, and fundraising components of Miss America have been instrumental in furthering my political ambitions and sharpening my skills for public office.
I have learned that I truly value bipartisanship and that women in politics have frequently served as the catalyst in reaching bipartisan solutions. Not only do I see myself as an agent of change in a system stagnated by party polarization, but I truly hope to uplift and encourage other women to run for office regardless of their party affiliation. I plan to run for office at the age of 24 for the state legislature in Rhode Island. In terms of my policies, we need more elected officials in Rhode Island that will support businesses and economic growth. By running, I hope to inspire young adults and women alike to become politically engaged and get involved. I will make a statement that you don't need to have a career in politics behind you to run - and win - but rather being passionate and concerned citizen is enough to make instrumental changes. Ultimately, I want to be seen as a role model and inspiration for young women to run. Those who are bold enough to change the world are the people who do.
During my time as Student Body President I faced vehement opposition, public ridicule, and even a proverbial backstabbing by people who I trusted. This experience made me question my political ambitions and I dismissed my desire to be a candidate. Fortunately, another Miss America contestant who had run for office connected with me and pointed out that I have already weathered severe political opposition and survived with grace. It was then I realized that if I truly want to make politics a better place for women, then I should be willing to run myself, especially after overcoming such obstacles. This experience also illustrated the importance of asking other women to run. The power of the personal ask has fueled my desire to run and has invigorated my desire to uplift and encourage other young women leaders to run as well.