The Journal Gazette
Sunday, October 27, 2019 1:00 am

Women give advice to aspiring politicians

Crouch: 'Do it.' Others say follow passion; it's not easy

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Female politicians or candidates from varying ranks offered advice for women seeking office:

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, a former state representative and elected county official – 

When women come up to me at events throughout the state and express their interest in running for office or getting involved in politics, my first response is always – “Do it. We need passionate and informed female voices at the table.”

It's amazing what women can achieve, but especially here in Indiana.

We are led by a governor who understands the importance of having women intimately involved in the leadership of our state. And he doesn't just talk about it, he acts. Five of seven statewide offices are held by women (71% female leadership vs. the national average of 25%).

Women are pushing Indiana to greater heights than ever before and I would love nothing more than to encourage others to pursue a life of public service.

State Auditor Tera Klutz, who previously served as Allen County Auditor – 

“Women should consider their passions and skills, both inherent and learned, when contemplating a run for political office. This process will help them choose an office where they can be the most confident and could add the greatest value for their constituents. By focusing on their strengths, they can find a role in which they are passionate. Women should also consider their values and principles before entering politics and how they might safeguard them during the election process and equally important, if they should win, in the office they hold because the pressure to make decisions for political reasons is great.”

State Sen. Liz Brown, also a former City Council member – 

“Women may not always take the traditional path to attain political office, but their insights and experiences are invaluable. Do not think you have to choose a certain career path or major. I was a science major in college and then a stay-at-home mom for many years.

“Since I entered public service, I have worked with great mentors and colleagues because we complement and respect each other's skill sets. Nevertheless, in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, how a woman is perceived is often different from a man with the same actions, so it is important and necessary to acknowledge this and be prepared to be perceived as more aggressive than a man.

“Politics can be hard on your family and your spouse, so be prepared to have that conversation with them, no matter how old, because social media is not censored.

“Fundraising can be daunting, and one must remember that hearing no is par for the course – it is not personal.

“Finally, never forget what a privilege it is to be able to participate in public service at any level. I always say I am here to be a good steward for our citizens, and their trust in me as a public servant is an honor.”

Sharon Tucker, Allen County Council member and candidate for Fort Wayne City Council – 

“Running for office, if done right, is not easy or comfortable. You'll be forced to challenge and defend norms. You'll wonder if your decisions are having a positive impact and at times you'll be standing alone on an issue.

“It takes courage, power and self-confidence. Run and don't be afraid to succeed.”

Courtney Tritch previously ran for the 3rd Congressional District – 

“There will be a lot of people giving you advice on who you 'should' be. Don't listen to them, or you will lose yourself in the process – just be willing to be authentically you.

“People don't connect with some glossy impression of a “politician;” they connect with leaders who are willing to stick their neck out and fight for what they believe is right.

“Before you start your campaign, write down a definition of success that isn't tied to winning. Ultimately, feeling successful isn't about winning or losing, it's about staying true to yourself and to the path you set out.”

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