How Running Start Changed My Life - Tracy Kamen

My name is Tracy Kamen and this summer I am interning for Running Start, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to inspiring young women to run for political office. As a student at Washington College, I took a class on Women in Politics with Professor Melissa Deckman. Professor Deckman was featured in Raising Ms. President and invited Kiley Lane Parker, the film’s director and producer, to screen the film and speak afterwards. I saw Running Start in Parker's documentary and was instantly impressed by the work they do, which inspired me to do some research on Running Start’s programs and apply to be a summer intern.

The Young Women’s Political Leadership Program (YWPL), held in July, is the main reason why I was interested in working with Running Start. YWPL gives high-school girls the opportunity to build their political leadership skills over the course of a week in Washington D.C. The program offers workshops in topics such as public speaking, fundraising, and on-camera media training taught by experts in the field to give girls a close look at what it takes to be a political leader. The girls attend a speaker series that enlightens them on how to get involved in local politics as well as well as what it is like for young female candidates to run for office. If I had known about the organization as a high school student, I most definitely would have applied. Young women being surrounded by like-minded peers who all come together with the desire to impact America for the better is very important to me. I knew that I wanted to help inspire other young women pursue their dreams of running for elected office, so I applied to Running Start and now I’m in Washington D.C. for the summer!

Having more women run for elected office is very important. As a young female studying political science and business management, I do not often see other young women in my field of interest. We have been raised in a world where the role of CEOs and heads of State are overwhelmingly male. While it is true that our Congress has more women holding seats (104) than ever before, women only make up 19.4% of Congress. Considering women make up approximately 50.8% of the US population, I believe women should make up at least half of our elected officials. In order to get women to hold seats in office, we need to get them to run for office. It is well-known that women often see themselves as under qualified when considering running for political office and do not run as frequently as men. Part of the reason Running Start is so important to me is because it shows girls they are qualified and capable of holding a position in elected office.

I am very lucky to be a part of such a wonderful group of interns that are all very dedicated to the mission of inspiring young girls to get engaged in politics. I look forward to watching the alumni of our Running Start programs go on to flood the pipeline and be our future representatives in local, state, and national government.

To get involved please contact Running Start, you won’t regret it!

Would you like to be a guest blogger? Email RAISING MS. PRESIDENT today and tell me about your political journey!