About our Podcast
Every Tuesday, you’ll meet some of the RFS candidates (and newly elected public servants!): They’re parents, scientists, teachers, refugees, artists, veterans, and more, of all races and ethnicities — the one thing they all share is their commitment to solving problems in their communities.
If you’re new to the political process, don’t worry, we’ll explain how the whole thing works. Subscribe and listen in for a conversation about politics that, in spite of everything, will make you hopeful for the future. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.
Episode 65: How to Run for Office (12/14)
In the final episode of the Run for Something podcast, Amanda and co-founder Ross Morales Rocketto dig in on how to run for office. They answer questions like how to know which office to run for, what dooms a campaign, and why it matters for people like you to get involved. To learn more about Run for Something (the organization), check out runforsomething.net or learn more about the book at runforsomething.net/book. We’re here to help.
Episode 64: How Elsa Mejia Won in a Conservative Town & Became the First Indigenous City Councilmember in Madera, CA (12/7)
First, a programming note: Next week will be the last episode of this podcast! Then, a conversation with Elsa Mejia, an Indigenous Mexican woman, bilingual journalist and communications specialist for a local union who turned her community roots into community leadership. We talk about running for office as an introvert, how she overcame partisanship to connect with her community, and what surprised her most throughout this process.
Episode 63: Amber Sellers is the first Black woman elected to the Lawrence City Commission (11/30)
In November, Amber Sellers became the first Black woman elected to the Lawrence City Commission in Kansas. At first, Amber didn’t think she’d be the one to run — in fact, she was trying to recruit someone else to fill the spot. But after months of conversation, she realized she should do it, even if she was afraid, and even if it meant putting herself out there. We talk about how she ran and won, what it means to her community to have her serve, and her priorities for next year. Learn more at https://sellers4lawrence.org
Episode 62: Yes, We Elect Coroners: Sophia Garcia-Jackson in Chester County, PA (11/23)
In around 1300 counties across the country, we still elect coroners. Run for Something has worked with a handful of them over the years — Sophia Garcia-Jackson of Chester County, PA, is our first winner! We talk about how she got into the line of work, what a coroner actually does, the story she tells at cocktail parties, and why it matters to have competent people handling non-natural death investigations. Happy Thanksgiving!
Episode 61: How to Keep Georgia Blue: A conversation with Gwinnett County Commissioners Ben Ku and Nicole Love Hendrickson (11/16)
I talk with two members of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in Georgia — Ben Ku and Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson. Ben won his seat in 2018 and became the first LGBTQ member of the board; Nicole won in 2020 and completed the full flip to give Democrats control of the board. We dig in on how county government works, what the experience has been like now that Democrats control the county, and why flipping a state blue doesn’t mean it stays blue forever.
Episode 60: Brianna Lennon explains what county clerk actually does & why you might want to be one (11/9)
First, a quick run-through of how previous guests did on Election Day, and some thoughts on VA & NJ. Then: We talk with Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon on what it was like running an election during a pandemic, what county clerks actually do, and what you should do now if you might want to run for that position one day. You can find Brianna on social media at @briannalennon, or listen to her podcast, “High Turnout, Wide Margins” wherever you get your shows.
Episode 59: Rep. Jasmine Crockett is not backing down from fighting for Texans (11/2)
First, a quick rundown of some of the previous guests who are on the ballot today — some of the 271 Run for Something folks up for a vote! Then, a conversation with Texas Rep. Jasmine Crockett, who went from lawyer to the state representative, fighting hard for voting rights, equality, and safety. As a new member of the legislature, she was constantly told to sit down and stay behind the scenes, but that’s not Jasmine’s style. Listen in then help her out at https://www.jasminefor100.com/.
Episode 58: If Kelly Krout Can Run a Family With 7 Kids, She Can Help Lead Arkansas (10/26)
When Kelly Ross Krout was a teenager, she fell into a crowd of Evangelical conservatives and identified as a Republican — over the last decade, she’s been slowly but surely changing her mind as she realized some of the policies she believed in were not inclusive of people she loved. In 2020, Kelly ran for state house in deep red Arkansas as a Democrat, surprising many in her community — but as a foster mom for a decade and now leading a family of seven kids, she knew there was more the state could do for families like hers. She came up short, and now she’s running for lieutenant governor to give a megaphone to the causes she cares about. You might occasionally see Kelly on TIkTok, where she’s explaining politics and Arkansas for her nearly 70k followers. Learn more about her campaign at kellyforarkansas.com
Episode 57: Denzel McCambell is Fighting for Democracy in Detroit (10/19)
Denzel McCambell grew up in Detroit as the son of social worker mom and an autoworker dad — it was a union family. He always understood why civic engagement mattered and how precious the right to vote is; during and after college he got involved in LGBTQ+ organizing, worked for a state representative and other community organizations, then took on a role with Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s office. Now he’s running for Detroit City Clerk at a time when local election administrators are under attack from anti-democracy opponents. We talk about the role city clerk plays, why he’s not afraid, and the joy he’s finding in campaigning. Learn more about Denzel’s race at https://denzelfordetroit.com/.
Episode 56: Shan Rose Wants to Let Kids Be Kids (10/12)
Shan Rose never imagined she’d be running for office. She’s experienced teenage homelessness, lost her husband to gun violence, lost a son to medical problems — and instead of letting all that heartbreak stop her, she turned it into a desire to fight for her community. She’s been a nonprofit exec and community activist for years; now she’s running for Orlando City Council to bring community and government today, and create a city where kids can just be kids. Learn more at vote4shan.com
Shan Rose Wants to Let Kids Be
Episode 55: In Class By Day, Running for Office By Night: Justin Tseng for Medford City Council (10/5)
First, a sneak preview of an exciting initiative launching today! Then: Justin Tseng grew up in Medford — a small town outside Boston. Now as a senior at Harvard (and at only 21 years old!) he’s running for city council to help lead the city he loves into the next phase of its growth. We talk about his experience campaigning and balancing a full load of classes, the way voters respond to him, and what his vision is for Medford. Listen in and help his campaign: justin4medford.com
Episode 54: This Race is A Very Big Deal: Sheila Nezhad for Mayor of Minneapolis
Sheila Nezhad has a long history of activism and serving her community of Minneapolis. After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the city (and the world) erupted in an unprecedented uprising for Black lives — Sheila was in the center of it, working with the city government to reimagine public safety, helping create the charter amendment that’s now on the ballot and would disband Minneapolis police and instead create a Department of Public Safety. The incumbent mayor failed to deliver on the promise of his election, so Sheila decided someone who was willing to represent the people ought to lead them. Now she’s running for mayor in one of the biggest elections of 2021. Learn more about her campaign at sheilaforthepeople.com
Episode 53: Keeping Georgia Blue: Dontaye Carter for Mayor of Sandy Springs, GA (9/21)
Dontaye Carter is running for mayor of Sandy Springs, GA, a city just outside Atlanta — his opponent is the former chair of the Georgia Republican Party. Sandy Springs has changed a lot over the last decade, but its leadership hasn’t — it’s time for a new voice. Learn more about Dontaye’s campaign at dontayeformayor.com
Episode 52: Elizabeth Wanczak Just Really Really Loves Local Government – That’s Why She Wants to Serve In It (9/14)
Elizabeth Wanczak first started caring about local government by watching the city planning meetings on public access television. (She admits, it was sometimes about as boring as watching paint dry.) But the more she watched, the more she understood what was happening and what could be fixed. When a dear friend who’d been pushing her to run for office suddenly passed away, she decided it was time to get in the game. She ran and lost by just 182 votes — now she’s running again for Alderman of district 4 in Franklin, Tennessee, and she’s going to win. Help her campaign at https://liz4alderman.com/.
Episode 51: A Very Special Episode with RFS Co-founder Ross Morales Rocketto (8/31)
For our 50th week of podcasting (and 51st episode, whoops!), Amanda and Run for Something co-founder Ross Morales Rocketto check in to talk about their thoughts on the Biden administration and what RFS has been up to this year, then answer a few questions from listeners, including which episodes have been their favorites, what they’re most excited about this November, and some hot tips for listeners who might be considering a run for office.
To be on an episode of Run for Something, leave us a message at (833) 244-5382.
Episode 50: How the Pandemic Inspired Public Health Expert Dr. Aditi Bussells to Run for Office (8/24)
Dr. Aditi Srivastav Bussells never thought she’d run for office — she got multiple degrees in public health to try and take care of people. But when the pandemic started, she realized exactly how critical her perspective would be in city government. Now she’s running for Columbia City Council in South Carolina. We talk about her experience becoming a candidate, what it’s like running as a South Asian woman in a southern city, the role of city government in public health, and whether or not she’s having any fun. Learn more about her campaign at aditiforthecity.com
Episode 49: Broward County School Board Member Sarah Leonardi is Taking On the Florida Governor to Fight for Kids (8/17)
School boards and Florida have both been in the news lately – so we talked with Broward County School Board member Sarah Leonardi about what’s going on in her community. Sarah was a public school teacher who got her start in politics by volunteering on another local campaign. She ran and won in 2020 and at 31, became the youngest member of the school board in the midst of the pandemic. Over her first year on the board, she’s dealt with critical race theory, mask mandates, equity policies, protecting trans kids, and more (on top of the normal school governance issues.) Now she’s in a fight against the governor about keeping kids safe during the worst wave of the pandemic yet. You can follow her on Twitter at @SarahMKLeonardi.
Episode 48: Go Blue! How University of Michigan Regent Jordan Acker’s Age Makes Him Better at His Job (8/10)
Jordan Acker was a University of Michigan alum and lawyer working hard and raising a family when he went through a health scare that landed him in the UM hospital system. That experience made him realize just how important the university was to the state — which led him to ultimately running for the Board of Regents to help govern it. When he won in 2018, he became the first Regent to graduate from the university in this century. Since taking office, he’s helped raise the minimum wage, expanded free college to thousands of Michiganders, made it easier for employees to unionize, and changed sexual assault reporting standards for the first time since 1996. Learn more then follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanAckerMI
And remember – if you have questions or comments, give us a call at 833-244-5382 and you might appear on our 50th episode in a couple weeks!
Episode 47: Ruthzee Louijeune Is Going to Bring Affordable Housing to Boston (8/3)
Ruthzee Louijeune is the daughter of Haitian immigrants — a history that’s intimately shaped her approach to serving and fighting for her community. Her experience as a housing lawyer (who also served as counsel to Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign) has prepared her to join the Boston City Council and bring affordable housing to a city that desperately needs it. We talk about her journey into politics, how campaigning fills her heart, and what her vision is for Boston. To support her campaign for councilor-at-large, go to www.ruthzeeforboston.com
If you have questions or thoughts on the show so far, we want to hear from you ahead of our 50th episode! Give us a call at 833-244-5382.
Episode 46: From Hair Stylist to Black Lives Matter Activist to Candidate: Bridgette Craighead is Going to Flip Her Virginia District Blue (7/27)
Bridgette Craighead was born and raised in Rocky Mount, Virginia — as a mom and small business owner, she’d never really gotten political before until the murder of George Floyd, when she organized Rocky Mount’s first ever Black Lives Matter protest, where even some police officers came out to show their support. Imagine her surprise when six months later, two of those officers stormed the capitol in D.C. — Bridgette was instrumental in them getting fired off the force.
Now as a candidate for House of Delegates, Bridgette is up against a young very-Trump-ian Republican and even while he tries to say she “doesn’t fit” the community, she’s taking the high road. Get to know her story and then help her campaign before the November election: https://www.bridgettefordelegate.com/
Note: This episode includes explicit language.
Episode 45: Why Texas Democrats Had to Flee Texas to Do Their Jobs and Fight for Democracy, with Reps. Erin Zwiener and James Talarico (7/20)
It’s the biggest story in politics right now: In order to deny Texas Republicans the quorum needed to pass egregious voter suppression laws, Democrats in the Texas state house literally left the state, and can’t come back for at least three weeks.
First, we reconnect with early podcast guest TX Rep. Erin Zwiener to get into the details on how they came up with their secret plans to leave, the security concerns, and the sacrifices they made (including Erin needing to bring her three year old daughter with her). Then we talk with Rep. James Talarico, a former school teacher turned youngest-legislator-in-history who’s been making waves for a turn on Fox News where he called out the bullshit. This episode is a little longer than usual but it’s worth every second.
You can learn more about Erin at erinforyall.com, and follow James on Twitter at @JamesTalarico.
Episode 44: Warning: You’re Going to Fall in Love with Dr. Tyler Titus (7/13)
Dr. Tyler Titus grew up in poverty in rural Pennsylvania, never feeling like they quite fit in — they were bullied and struggled with suicide ideation and depression. It wasn’t until they got to college and met other queer people that Tyler finally found themselves. In between working in county family services, getting a masters in counseling, and then eventually a pH.D in social work, and starting a family, Tyler ran for and won a seat on the school board, becoming the first trans person elected in Pennsylvania, and is currently one of only nine non-binary folks elected nationwide.
Now they’re running for county executive, and could make history in November if they win. We talked about identity, trauma, and the power of sharing our stories. To help Tyler’s campaign, go to https://www.tylertitus.com/.
Episode 43: Rhode Island Sen. Cynthia Mendes On Why Young Women of Color Need To Claim Their Power (7/6)
At least a half dozen people called in to 833-244-5382 and requested her, so here she is: Rhode Island Sen. Cynthia Mendes talks about how she grew up never seeing people like her in office, and didn’t think politics was a meaningful way to make change — until a few years ago, when a friend asked her to run for office herself. Along with a network of other progressive folks in the Rhode Island Political Coop, Cynthia ran and won against a more conservative incumbent. Since then, she’s found again and again that the things she thought disqualified her actually make her even more powerful.
To support Cynthia, make a donation now: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/cynthia4ri
You can also follow her on Twitter or other platforms: @Cynthia_Mendes_
Episode 42: Why A Queer Latinx Architect Should Be Mayor of Seattle – Andrew Grant Houston (6/29)
Some election updates! (Spoiler: A bunch of the folks you’ve met on the show in past episodes have WON — get excited.) Then, a conversation with Andrew Grant Houston, aka Ace, candidate for mayor of Seattle. Like many millennials, Ace moved to a city for work a few years ago — he quickly got engaged in housing activism, an issue near and dear to his heart as an architect. His campaign was one of the first in the race to hit the campaign finance limits and is pushing the debate on issues like police funding, homelessness, and climate change. Listen in, then help him out at www.agh4sea.com
Reminder: You can always call to let us know what you think at 833-244-4382.
Episode 41: The First Latinx Leader in the NC State House: Ricky Hurtado (6/22)
Ricky Hurtado made history in 2020: He became the first Latinx leader in the NC state house, and was one of the rare Democrats anywhere to flip a state legislative seat red to blue. His story is both incredibly special and deeply common — Ricky grew up in an immigrant household, was the first generation in his family to go to college, went to work in education, and decided to run because he felt like the students he was working with were being heard in government. His campaign made a lot of news over the last year; listen in to understand the story behind the headlines. You can find Ricky on any social media platform @RickyHurtadoNC.
If you want to call and leave Run for Something a voicemail with feedback, that number is 833-244-5382.
Episode 40: India Walton Is Going to Be the First Woman Mayor of Buffalo (6/15)
When India Walton was growing up working class in Buffalo, she always knew she’d serve her community in some way — but she never would have guessed that one day she’d be in the running to be the first woman mayor of Buffalo.
From being a mother at 14 to having twins in the NICU that nudged into going into nursing to her later role as a non-profit executive, India brings her full self to her campaign against a four-term incumbent who literally hides from his constituents. Listen to her story, then head to http://www.indiawalton.com to find out how you can help before Election Day on 6/22.
If you have questions or ideas on who we should talk to, give us a call at 833-244-5382.
Episode 39: Amanda Farías Is Who The Bronx Needs in City Hall (6/8)
First, our very first voicemail!! Listen in as Amanda responds to a caller about the 1/6 commission and talks about how she gets her news. (Then leave a voicemail yourself at (833) 244-5382!)
Then, a conversation with Amanda Farías, candidate for New York City Council in the Bronx. She ran in 2017, came up short, then kept fighting as she worked her way through the NY Democratic party leadership elections. She always knew she’d run for city council again, but when the incumbent who had beaten her said some egregiously homophobic things, she decided to jump back in the race sooner than she expected. Now it’s an open seat and she’s absolutely crushing it. Learn more and help Amanda win at amandafarias.nyc.
Episode 38: How Jennifer Kitchen Plans To Flip A Red Seat Blue in Rural Virginia (6/1)
After the 2016 election, Jennifer Kitchen started getting involved — in spite of a chronic pain disorder that made marching and canvassing hard, she kept showing up and organizing her rural community. She ran in 2019 and lost, but won more votes than any Democrat in her district had before. She almost immediately launched her 2021 campaign, then was diagnosed with cancer. Now in remission, she’s running an exponentially stronger campaign than she did the first time around, and she’s showing up in rural communities that Democrats have neglected for too long. Learn how she’s going to flip her seat blue and what you can do to help at www.electjenniferkitchen.com
Remember, if you have questions or thoughts, give us a call at (833) 244-5382!
Episode 37: Black Lives Matter Activist Chi Osse is Ready to Represent Brooklyn (5/25)
Brooklyn native Chi Ossé started his work as an activist and community organizer, today, Chi is making headlines as a culture-driver and one of the youngest candidates for NY city council. Chi announced his campaign on Juneteenth during the protests after the murder of George Floyd and has been on the doors and talking to voters non-stop for the last 11 months. Learn about his story, his campaign, and whether being “cool” is part of the strategy. Follow Chi at @chiosse on Twitter and then get involved at osse2021.com ahead of his primary on June 2.
Episode 36: From Berkeley Graduation to Berkeley City Council – Rigel Robinson’s Leading When It Matters Most (5/18)
Missouri native Rigel Robinson started at UC Berkeley in 2014 as an eager student, ready to learn and to fall in love with the city he’d call home. Four years later, just as he was about to graduate, folks started clamoring for him to run for office. He jumped in the fight, won, and throughout his first term, has already pushed forward necessary reform on policing and housing that is broadening what is possible for municipal government. You’re going to love his passion, his intellect, and the contagious love he has for his city. Follow Rigel on all social media platforms – @RigelRobinson.
Episode 35: What Happens When A Queer Muslim Woman Runs for Office Again – Liliana Bakhtiari for Atlanta City Council (5/11)
When Liliana Bakhtiari ran for Atlanta City Council in 2017, she made national headlines as a queer Muslim millennial seeking leadership. She came up a few hundred votes short, but kept organizing, because her campaign was never really about what happened on Election Day — it was about engaging her community. When every problem she ran to solve the first time just got worse, she knew she couldn’t stay silent. She’s running again, this time in an open race, and she’s going to win. We talked about her experiences running, the good and the bad of being a trailblazer, and how she stays inspired, even when it’s hard. Support her campaign at https://www.lilianaforatlanta.com/.
Episode 34: From First-time Activist to First-time Candidate: Justan Fields for Allentown City Council (5/4)
Justan Parker Fields had never really been involved in politics before — it had run in his family, sure, but he’d never been too engaged. But when the police shot and killed Philando Castile back in 2016, he decided to try and organize a protest in his hometown of Allentown, PA. Not too many people showed up. A few years later, when George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Justan tried again — and this time, hundreds came out to show their support for Black lives. From there, Justan became one of the founders of Black Lives Matter Lehigh Valley, and now he’s fighting for a seat on the Allentown City Council, because as he says: while there’s power in protest, there’s also power in policy. If he wins, he’ll be the first gay Black man on the city council. Learn more at his website: https://www.justan4allentown.com/
Episode 33: The “Squad” of Sacramento – City Councilmembers Katie Valenzuela and Mai Vang (4/27)
Housing activist Katie Valenzuela ran against an incumbent member of the Sacramento City Council and won, in spite of being outspent 3 to 1. A few months later, she was joined on the council by organizer Mai Vang, the first Asian American woman to join the body. The two have built a beautiful friendship and in just a few months, revolutionized politics in Sacramento. Listen in as they explain how they won, the “Squad” they’ve cultivated, and the kind of progress they’ve made.
Episode 32: Following In The Footsteps of Barack Obama – IL State Sen. Robert Peters (4/20)
IL State Sen. Robert Peters was born to a mom with addiction problems and was then adopted by a social worker and a civil rights lawyer, who raised him in the politically-active Hyde Park area in Chicago. He had a tough childhood — he was born deaf, had a speech impediment, and tended to get into trouble as a kid. In spite of deaths in his family, unemployment, and a little bit of aimlessness, Robert’s grit and commitment to his community brought him home. Now, he’s the state senator representing the neighborhood he grew up in — following in the literal footsteps of Barack Obama — cosponsoring 13 different bills in his first year, and leading on making Illinois the first state to end cash bail. Listen to his story and learn more at https://senatorrobertpeters.com/
Episode 31: How to Talk to Trump Voters with Maine state Senator Chloe Maxmin (4/13)
Climate activist Chloe Maxmin first ran for Maine state house in 2018 and won, becoming the first Democrat to ever represent her very rural very old community. (She was only 26 years old!) Then in 2020, she ran for Maine state senate and beat out the top-ranking leader of the Republican party. Listen in to find out how she did it, why rural America is not a lost cause for Democrats, how to talk to people you fundamentally disagree with, and what Maine politics is really like. To get regular updates, you can follow Chloe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChloeForSenate/
Episode 30: Boston City Council Candidate Kendra Hicks Is a Rising Star (4/6)
Kendra Hicks is an activist, an organizer, a mom of a son on the autism spectrum, and a possibly history-making candidate for Boston City Council. She’s a rising star and win or lose, you’re going to see her on the national scale in a big way in the next few years. Listen now to see why we’re obsessed – then head to her website to help her campaign: www.hicksfordistrictsix.com
Episode 29: Cleveland Can’t Wait: Why Justin Bibb is Running for Mayor (3/30)
When his mom told him he was never going to be the next LeBron James, Ohio native Justin Bibb was crushed — until a chance encounter with a presidential campaign in a hotel lobby redirected his passion to politics. Now he’s running for mayor of Cleveland, because his city can’t wait for someone else to bring about change. We talk about his path to the campaign, the moments that inspired him to run now, what’s surprised him most as a first-time candidate, and how you can help him win.
Episode 28: How Denver School Board Director Tay Anderson Became the Youngest Elected Official in Colorado (3/23)
First, Amanda talks through some new Run for Something research that shows local candidates really do have “reverse coattails.” Then: A conversation with Tay Anderson, Denver School Board Director and the youngest elected official in Colorado, who ran and lost in 2017, but didn’t let that stop him — he ran again in 2019 and handily won, and has now been leading the work to make Denver schools safer, more equitable, and more welcoming. Listen in, then find him at @TayAndersonCo on any social media platform you like.
Episode 27: Marche’ Johnson Lost By 6 Votes The First Time – That Won’t Happen Again (3/16)
We don’t often hear from Democrats running in Alabama – let’s fix that! Meet Marche’ Johnson, a veteran and single mom running for Montgomery City Council, ran for the first time in 2019 and lost by just six votes. Then the incumbent who beat her died in office — often the only way space is made for new leaders, unfortunately — and now she’s fighting again in a wide open race. This time, she’s not going to lose. Learn more at marcheonthemove.com
Episode 26: Why NY state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi is Furious (And Unapologetic About It) (3/9)
NY state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi talks about her path to elected office, what Democrats got done over the last few years, and why she’s so (righteously and appropriately) furious with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. Tune in for some outrage, and follow her on Twitter at @Biaggi4NY
Episode 25: Nida Allam Was The First Muslim Woman Elected in North Carolina – She Won’t Be The Last (3/2)
A conversation with Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam on her journey into elected office, which began when an anti-Muslim shooter killed her best friend and two others. We talk about her role on the Durham County Commission and how she built her campaign, and Nida speaks candidly about the great joy she took in campaigning as a Muslim woman, as well as the threats she endured. She promises: She may be the first, but she’s not the last. Learn more at https://www.nidaallam.com/.
Episode 24: Meet Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, the First Indigenous Woman Elected in Pima County, Arizona (2/23)
Gabriella Cázares-Kelly got her start as an organizer and educator, struggling to get Indigenous communities registered to vote. Learn more about how that experience shaped her journey to becoming the Pima County Recorder, who manages (among other things), the voter registration process, how far her family has come in just three generations, and the burden and privilege of being the first to represent her community in elected office.
Episode 22: A Day in the Life of Kerri-Ann Nesbeth, Candidate for Miramar City Council (2/9)
First, a little rant about the gerontocracy. (Sorry if it makes you mad!) Then: A conversation with Kerri-Ann Nesbeth, candidate for Miramar City Council down in South Florida. She explains why she ran, what a day in the life looks like for her right now balancing her full-time job and her full-time campaign, the racism and sexism she’s encountered, and why it’s all worth it. You can volunteer for Kerri-Ann at http://www.mobilize.us/miramar and donate to her campaign at https://www.kerriannnesbeth.com/.
Episode 21: Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit on What Progressive Criminal Justice Looks Like (2/2)
First, a quick rant on why Democrats have to govern like winners. Then, and more importantly: A conversation with Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit on what district attorneys do, how he won his Michigan community over, whether or not his job is anything like what we see on The Good Wife, and the direct impact his work is already having as he’s radically transformed his county’s criminal justice system in just a few weeks. Learn more at eli2020.com
Episode 20: NY State Sen. Zellnor Myrie on What Government Can Actually Do (1/26)
NY State Sen. Zellnor Myrie from Brooklyn explains his path to the state senate to take on an incumbent who outspent him 3 to 1 and what he and the Democratic majority in NY have actually done to make lives better for people. We also discuss his experience being pepper sprayed at the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, what it’s been like to balance the priorities of the last year as he represents one of the districts that’s been most ravaged by COVID, and the healthy tension between activists and institutions.
Episode 19: How to Celebrate National Run for Office Day! (1/19)
Today, January 19th, 2021, is National Run for Office Day! Amanda and Run for Something co-founder Ross Morales Rocketto talk through what that means and why you should run for office. Plus: What they’re hopeful for out of a Biden administration, what accountability for the Republican party looks like, and more. To learn more about the holiday, go to runforofficeday.com
Episode 18: On Georgia & the coup – plus, meet Alex Lee, the first Gen-Z legislator in California (1/11)
A quick rundown of the last week in politics: The victories in Georgia, the coup on D.C., and how it all relates to our focus on local politics. Then, an interview with Alex Lee, the first openly bisexual, first gen-Z and youngest member of the CA state assembly. We talk about his experience running for office as a 24 year old living at home and working in the gig economy, why housing and public transit are such big priorities for him, and how he balances governing with watching Spongebob cartoons during his breaks.
If you have questions ahead of the 1/19 episode, email them to us – hello at runforsomething dot net!
Episode 17: Sen. Megan Hunt: The Nebraska Progressive Who Won’t Ever Stop Fighting (01/04)
Meet Senator Megan Hunt, a progressive member of the single-body non-partisan Nebraska state legislature. (Yes, there really are progressives in Nebraska!) She’s a single mom, a small business owner, the first openly LGBTQ state legislator in the chamber, and unapologetic about doing what she can to fight for her values, even when it’s an uphill climb. We need more people like Megan in office. Follow her on social media at @NebraskaMegan.
Episode 16: Michigan Reps. Mari Manoogian and Kyra Bolden On How To Mix Friendship and Politics (12/14)
In our last episode before the holidays, Amanda talks with Michigan state Reps. Mari Manoogian and Kyra Bolden about friendship, legislating, how they’re treated as young women in the state capitol, and how they’re surviving this tough year in politics. They’re joyful — you’re going to love the conversation.
Episode 15: The Trailblazers: A Conversation with Del. Danica Roem, Rep. Brianna Titone, and Sen. Sarah McBride (12/8)
In 2017, Virginia Del. Danica Roem flipped a seat red to blue and became the first trans state legislator in the country. Her campaign inspired Brianna Titone to run and flip a state house seat in Colorado in 2018. They both helped Sarah McBride run in Delaware and become the first trans state senator in America earlier this year. Each one is interesting enough to be an episode in her own right — together, we had a beautiful and moving discussion on what it means to make history.
Episode 14: What Winning Feels Like with Los Angeles City Councilmember-elect Nithya Raman (Plus: A Candidate Update!) (12/1)
First, Amanda checks in with Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah from an earlier episode, to find out how his election went (spoiler: he won!), how he’s feeling, and what comes next for school boards like his. Then, she talks with Nithya Raman, a progressive who beat an incumbent for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council in a grassroots underdog victory. Nithya’s campaign was built to make a difference, win or lose — find out how she took on the California Democratic machine, got people to pay attention to local politics, and is setting up to lead LA moving forward.
Episode 13: Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta’s Unusual Journey to the PA State House (11/24)
Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta has been lauded as the future of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania — but his journey there has been a wild ride, with twists and turns along the way. He had never seen a gay Black man in the state capitol before, and didn’t know campaigns like his were possible. Now his leadership is breaking new ground for those who come next. His story will inspire you. Help him out at malcolmforpa.com
Episode 12: Rep. Anna Eskamani Explains Where Florida Democrats Go From Here (11/17)
Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani flipped her seat outside Orlando red to blue in 2018, then easily held it in 2020. In between, she and her team personally helped 30,000 Floridians deal with unemployment, fought for renters, got hundreds of millions of dollars in arts funding, and showed that a bold progressive can govern with Republicans without compromising her values. We talk about what she’s accomplished, why too many Florida Democrats lost, and where the party goes from here. (Plus: Whether or not she’s running for governor… stay tuned!) Learn more at AnnaForFlorida.com
Episode 11: Joy Is Not a Crumb – Celebrate the Election, Then Celebrate Good Governing with Judge Lina Hidalgo (11/10)
Amanda gives some updates on the candidates you’ve met on the show, and explains why it’s okay (and in fact, encouraged!) to feel joy post-Election Day, even with some tough losses. Then: An interview with Judge Lina Hidalgo, Harris County executive, on what it’s like to be underestimated, how her wonky budgeting change will make life better for millions of Texans, and what it feels to be a young woman in charge of the third biggest county in America.
Episode 10: It’s Election Day. What Comes Next? (11/3)
Amanda and Run for Something co-founder Ross Morales Rocketto shoot the shit on how they’re feeling, how they cope, and what needs to happen for this work to be sustainable. Then they lay out 11 principles the Democratic Party needs to embrace moving forward and answer a few rapidfire questions from listeners. If you haven’t voted yet, check iwillvote.com to confirm your polling place.
Episode 9: How 21-year old Chokwe Pitchford is Going to Flip a Michigan State House (10/27)
Chokwe Pitchford is running to flip a much-needed Michigan state house seat and give Democrats the majority in the chamber. In this interview, we talk through his story, the moment he decided to run, how he deals with imposter syndrome, and as a treat, he gives us the director’s commentary on the ads he wrote, produced, directed, and even points out a little easter egg you might not have noticed if you watched them. You can learn more about Chokwe at https://www.chokwefor79th.org/.
Episode 8: How Kim Jackson Balances Faith and Politics In Her Fight for Justice (10/20)
Kim Jackson is an Episcopal priest born in the south, a queer Black woman married to a Muslim scholar, and after November, she’ll be one of the first openly LGBT members of the Georgia state senate. We talked about how she felt called to serve — in faith and in politics — and the tension between the two, her beautiful marriage, the way her campaign helped fix her broken family, and her vision for Georgia. Warning: This interview will make you cry.
Episode 7: How Tennessee Candidate Gabby Salinas Beat Cancer and Overcame Loss – And Still Stays Hopeful (10/13)
Gabby Salinas came to the United States from Bolivia when she was diagnosed with cancer as a child. The Memphis community took her family in and cared for her — and then showed itself to be even more welcoming when Gabby’s father and sister died in a car crash that also paralyzed her pregnant mother. A few years later, Gabby was diagnosed with a new type of cancer, which came back again just before she went off to college. Gabby kept fighting, became a scientist, a candidate for state legislature in Tennessee, and a fierce advocate for the kind of health care that saved her life many times over. Learn more about her campaign at voteforgabby.com. You can find her on Twitter at @GabbySalinas and on Instagram at @Gabby4TNHouse.
Episode 6: How Brittney Rodas Turned Her Grief into Action (10/6)
Brittney Rodas grew up working poor in the Poconos — her dad was a veteran, an alcoholic, and struggled with mental health issues. He was denied Medicaid because his income from Social Security was $7 over the limit. Shortly after he died, Brittney decided to run for office — now the 25 year old mom of two is working her ass off to flip a must-win seat in the PA state house. Learn her story, then help her campaign: volunteer at mobilize.us/rodasforpa
Read the transcript.
Episode 5: How Three Young Progressives are Changing Wisconsin for the Better (9/29)
We talk with Madison City Councilmember Max Prestigiacomo, Democratic nominee for WI State Assembly Francesca Hong, and activist Nada Elmikashfi about the protest movement in Wisconsin over the summer, what it means to be a politician, and how they reconcile the tension between fighting on the inside and fighting on the inside. It’s a heavy conversation, but also a hopeful one. Go to directory.runforsomething.net to find more candidates like them.
Episode 4: Why You Should Care About School Boards (9/22)
First, with a Supreme Court seat on the line, what to do next after you’ve donated to key Senate races. Then: Meet Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah, who’s running for Tucson Unified School District board — he’s a doctor, a son of immigrants, and along with his husband, a father to two kids himself. (You may hear them on the episode!) School boards are the most important races we never talk about — listen in to learn why. You can learn more about Dr. Ravi at https://drravifortusd.com/.
Episode 3: Flipping Texas Blue (9/15)
Democrats need to flip just 9 seats in the Texas state house in order to win sustainable power for a decade (or more.) Meet Rep. Erin Zwiener, one of the most vulnerable incumbent state reps and hear how she flipped a seat while balancing a nauseating pregnancy. Then meet Akilah “Brass Balls” Bacy, who’s trying to win a seat Democrats lost by just 47 votes last cycle. Learn more at erinforyall.com or akilahbacy.com!
Episode 2: Bethany Hallam’s Journey From Opioid Addict to Powerful Politician (9/8)
When Bethany Hallam was a junior in high school, she tore her ACLs, and ended up addicted to opioids, kicking off a decade of pills, heroin, homelessness, and jail time. Just a few years later, she’s one of the most powerful members of Allegheny County Council in Pennsylvania.
Episode 1: Meet Jennifer Carroll Foy, Who Could Be The First Black Woman Governor in America (9/8)
Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy has been told “no” her entire life. She didn’t let that stop her from being one of the first women to graduate from VMI, from flipping a state legislative seat after giving birth to preemie twins, and from running to be the first Black woman governor in America.