By SARA RASMUSSEN
CANDIDATE HOUSE DISTRICT 22
She’s just a mom. And pregnant – how could she ever be successful legislator? Her hormones must be going crazy. Look at her, with that blonde hair – she looks like a pageant w**re. She’s just a stupid little girl.
Those words, spoken about me since I stepped out to run for office, are written on sticky notes, attached to my bathroom mirror. Every morning, they motivate me to press on and remind me that nothing worth doing is easy.
She’s a Republican and I won’t vote for her. (Kind of closed-minded, but predictable.)
She’s too young. (Not as true as I might like to think, but I get it.)
She’s conservative and I’m not. (A fair reason not to give me your vote.)
She’s a mom. Seriously?
My name is Sara Rasmussen. I’m a residential real estate appraiser, a lifelong resident of my district, a wife, an entrepreneur, and I also just happen to be mother of a sweet little boy with a little girl on the way. When my husband and I made the decision that I would run for public office, I knew that the path would be riddled with obstacles and difficulties.
To newcomers, the financial and time commitments to a campaign create barriers to entry that are high and unforgiving; this reality all too often keeps many good men and women from running for office at all.
I expect, given the current nature of our country’s politics, to have a door or two slammed in my face. But, I have to admit that I find it alarming — at a time when politicians from across our state and our nation stand accused of sexual harassment and assault, extramarital affairs, and corruption – that any person would dismiss my candidacy simply because I’m a mother of small children.
I mean really, what better reason could I possibly have to run for office?
Moms possess an amazing ability to solve complex problems. They’re among the best negotiators in the world (have you ever tried to convince a toddler to do something?) and they’re naturally inclined to protect everyone around them. Moms are observant, dedicated, and passionate – the qualities that just about everyone, of every political affiliation, wants in their elected officials.
Being a mom shouldn’t be seen as a handicap to accomplishing great things in society.
Anchorage’s Kikkan Randall just won a GOLD medal for team USA, and she’s a mother of a toddler.
Marie Curie, who won a Nobel Prize and whose work led to the development of the X-ray scanner, did so as a single mom of two daughters.
Kathy Headlee, a mother of seven, started Mothers Without Borders to help orphaned children around the world.
I could go on and on. Moms are a cornerstone of a healthy society, and we can’t continue to force them out of the public square.
I can’t stomach any more news stories about people being shot on our streets or kids hit by stolen cars. My heart still aches for families of Alaskans who have been made twice a victim; first, by the crime itself, and then, by the injustice of watching the perpetrator walk away without penalty because of a bad bill called SB 91.
I can’t stand by while the leaders of our state take away the PFD bit by bit, stealing away parents’ opportunity to invest in their child’s college education, and then threatening new taxes in the very next sentence.
I won’t sit quietly while the budget deficit continues to grow and grow, forcing ordinary, hardworking people to bear the weight of a government that is addicted to spending money.
These aren’t abstract problems. They’re right in front of our faces and we can’t ignore them any longer.
We need new, strong, and independent leaders to break the cycle of bad government, and I want to earn your trust as one of those leaders.
I don’t want to talk bad about my opponents – I know them both and they’re nice people. But they’ve also both already had a shot to solve problems in Juneau, and honestly, I don’t think either of them have earned another term by their actions. It’s nothing personal, but I feel less safe today than I did before they were elected, and judging by the messages I’ve received so far in my campaign, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Being a legislator and a mother isn’t going to be easy – I know that. But I’m willing to make whatever adjustments necessary to give my neighbors, my family, and my friends a representative in government who has their best interests at heart. I am so fortunate to have an amazing and supportive husband to serve alongside me on behalf of our community, and our family is so excited for the opportunity to go to Juneau together to fight for all Alaskans!
Chances are, you may catch me waddling down your street in the coming weeks, before my daughter’s birth. I’ll be back out as quickly as I can after she’s born, as I’m committed to getting out there and learning what issues matter to you. I’d love the chance to meet you and your family.
I’m only going to make one campaign promise this year, and I hope it’s a strong start on the journey to earn your vote: I will fight with everything I have, as only a mom can, for my children and for yours.
And if that commitment makes me a “stupid little girl” – well, I’m okay with that.
Sara Rasmussen is a candidate for State Representative in District 22 (Sand Lake, Anchorage). You can learn more about her and her campaign at SaraForHouse.com.