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 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.