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Record Interest in Running for Office: Carrie Chapman Catt Center

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AMES, Iowa  --  For ten years, Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center has hosted events called Ready to Run.

These are a series of sessions designed to give women who are thinking of running for public office a glimpse into what is involved. The course is also open to men, and a few do attend.

“We’ve had record turnout this year,” said Dianne Bystrom, the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at ISU. “Our goal is to recruit women from both political parties to run for office at the local, state, and national office, as well.”

The sessions cover topics like launching a campaign, what it’s like to work a campaign, fundraising, and learning how to communicate through social media and news media.

“Today’s session is focused on right now on communicating with the media,” said Monic Behnken of Ames, who is running for the school board. “What we have learned about are the ways you communicate with the media are different than you would face-to-face.”

Potential candidates find the whole concept requires a time commitment.

“The hard thing for me right now is balancing my home life, trying to do all the campaign things,” said Jamie Allen of Fairfield. She is exploring a run for Senate District 41 in Iowa. “I have four kids ages 5 and under, so it’s definitely a balancing act.”

“It is non-partisan, the thing that we have been really happy about is the energy in the room, we haven’t had any kind of arguments,” said Bystrom. Everybody is very supportive of each other.

Bystrom added that some programs had be accessed online for a small fee.

If you are considering a run for elected office, you can check the Catt Center website here.