Real Women Run course teaches women to be confident candidates
On Friday, Aimee Winder Newton filed for her first election, a move that was both exciting and scary for the newly appointed member of the Salt Lake County Council.
"There's the fear of rejection," said Newton. "Am I going to be OK if I lose? Can I still balance home and family if I win?"
But on Saturday, some of those fears were quashed for Newton and more than 40 other women who attended the daylong Real Women Run training at the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics.
The nonpartisan workshop helped women learn the ins and outs of running for office or working on a campaign.
Speakers and presenters included former legislators Sheryl Allen and Jackie Biskupski as well as political campaign veterans Evelyn Call, Maura Carabello and Kitty Dunn.
They offered details on how to best use communications and social media, what to do with data and campaign research, how to organize a campaign office, and of course, how to raise money to pay for it all.
The training is necessary to get more women into political office, said Lindsay Zizumbo, a founding member of the 3-year-old Real Women Run. Women make up half the Utah population, but there is no female that currently holds a seat in Congress or a statewide elected office.
Men, she said, are often less intimidated to jump into the political ring, while women want to feel more prepared.
"It isn't until someone recruits them and tells them they can do it that they feel confident enough," said Zizumbo.
Women also believe they lack the education and experience for the job, added Dunn, deputy manager of the Mia Love for Congress campaign.
"Too often women have stood back and let someone else do it because they don't realize that they have the skills," she said. "But they know about budgeting and schools and transportation, because they live it every day."
Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, added Dunn, "we need more voices in government."
Which is why Newton decided to file.
In January, she was appointed to the Salt Lake County Council to replace District 3 Councilman David Wilde, who had a year left on his fourth term. To hold on to the seat, which includes most of Murray and Taylorsville plus parts of West Valley City, South Salt Lake and Millcreek, Newton must win the November election.
But's she's never run a political campaign before,
"There's lot of logistics to consider that are kind of scary," she said. But the Real Women Run training "really supports you and gives you confidence."