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 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 23: Salt Lake City School Board Member Joél-Léhi Organista on Bringing Your Full Self to Every Room You’re In (2/16)
First, an explanation on impeachment, and why most Republican elected officials are morally bankrupt. Then: A conversation with Joél-Léhi Organista, a member of the Salt Lake City school board. Joél-Léhi is an activist, an educator, an immigrant, and so much more — we talk about his path to elected office and how to be his most authentic self in leadership. Learn more at http://jloschoolboard.com/.
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.