It’s easy—OK, it’s waaaay too easy—to get frustrated with politics these days. You can’t turn on your TV or scroll through your newsfeed without seeing something that’ll get your blood boiling no matter which side of the aisle you prefer. But you know what? Getting frustrated isn’t going to make anything better. If we want things to be different, we have to make them that way.
We know you’ve got great ideas about what would make your community, your state, or our country more fair and just. So... why not run for office and put them into action?
Does that sound crazy? Well, it didn’t to these three first-time candidates. We’re inspired by their decision to step up and get to work.
Tyler Ruzich (R)
Tyler Ruzich is one of six teenagers running for governor in Kansas. Yes, that’s right: six teenagers. Running for governor. Of Kansas. Perhaps understandably, the news media spent weeks treating this story as an entertaining curiosity, but things started to shift after the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting. We all saw, and are continuing to see, how teenagers have stepped up to lead the gun-control debate across the country. What’s happening in Kansas suddenly feels like part of a larger movement.
Ruzich, 17 years old, is a high school junior who considers himself a moderate Republican—and would rather talk about his ideas than his age. He wonders why youth should be a disqualifier in this or any race. “I say, we keep continuing these Old Man Principles that aren’t working. In [Alexander] Hamilton’s time, someone my age could be commander of a frigate. Did the Founding Fathers consider that a 17-year-old might be governor? I don’t know. Did they consider that a reality-television businessman would become president of the United States after losing the popular vote? Probably not.”
He believes in equal rights for all, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. He favors gun control. He welcomes immigrants. And he wants to support farmers and business owners while improving the health of the environment. But his main goal “is to reach the young voters of Kansas—to get them involved in the local, state, and national issues that will determine their future.”
Anne Gass (I)
Anne Gass, 58, experienced her political calling a bit later in life. A grant-writer and author, she credits the election of Donald Trump for her newfound activism. “I decided to run the night Trump was elected...I was lying in bed awake all night...And I thought, it’s time to run. I realized now is exactly the right time to run.”
A resident of Gray, Maine, Gass is running as an Independent for a seat in the Maine state legislature, District 67. Despite never having run for office before, she’s been thinking about women and politics—the women’s suffrage movement in particular—for a long time. She published a book, Voting Down the Rose, in 2014 about her great-grandmother’s role in securing women’s right to vote a hundred years ago.
Following in her great-grandmother’s footsteps, Gass is an advocate for the Maine Equal Rights amendment and wants to safeguard access to birth control and reproductive healthcare. She has long supported affordable housing and wants to strengthen Maine’s schools. More than anything, though, she wants to find ways to bring people together. “When they wrote the Constitution they wrote ‘We the People’ not ‘We the Corporations’ or ‘We the Rich and Entitled’ ... They figured it out—and we can too.”
Colin Allred (D)
Colin Allred has had an interesting life. He played in the NFL for the Tennessee Titans. He earned a law degree from UC Berkeley and worked in the Obama White House. He was a special assistant to the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He helped protect voters’ rights in Texas during the 2014 election. He’s a civil rights attorney. And now? He’s running for Congress.
The 34-year-old North Dallas native, who’s hoping to represent Dallas’s 32nd District, grew up with a single mom who taught for three decades in the Dallas public schools. “I’ve been fighting for people who don’t have a voice since before I ran for Congress,” he said. “And I want to continue doing that when I’m in office.”
Allred is a believer in universal healthcare, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights. He’s supports restoring the Voting Rights Act and making voting easier and more accessible for all citizens in Texas and across the country. His resume and his background have generated a lot of interest in his candidacy, and he’s had some early success. But Allred thinks of himself as a local who wants to give others the same opportunities that he was given. “This is my home,” he said, “and I’m running to make sure who we are here in north Texas is being represented in Washington, DC.”
Every single one of us has the ability to make the world a better place.
Get inspired. Then get started. Today.