Rutgers holds campaign training event for women in politics

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Women who are interested in getting involved in politics participated in a campaign training event at Rutgers University.

Entrepreneur Erin Johnson says that she came to New Brunswick from Camden to receive training at the Ready to Run event. She says that she has new interests in politics, for a few reasons.

“The Women’s March, what’s going on in Hollywood, just women finding their voices,” Johnson says.

Studies show that women don't usually think that they are qualified to run for office, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers.

“Women tend to run when they’re recruited. Somebody has to ask them to run,” says director Debbie Walsh. “This weekend is a giant ask of women to say ‘Step up. You should do it.’”

The Ready to Run conference has been ongoing for 19 years. It is aimed at showing women of color that all they need is to be a citizen and meet the age requirement to run for office. The conference teaches these women how to launch a campaign and how to navigate political party organizations.

Air Force veteran Janna Williams says that these are skills that she wants to learn.

“Women in the military, there’s a lot of issues that are going on that are getting ignored,” she says.

Ready to Run organizers say that they are hoping that some of the women attending the conference may want to run for office themselves someday. The organizers say that this is especially important in municipal and local races because women are underrepresented.

Ashley Davis, who is running as the millennial candidate for the Plainfield City Council, says that she is hopeful.

“We don’t really have anybody to represent our interests or really be a voice at the table, and that’s what I want to be,” she says.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, New Jersey ranked 43rd in the nation for the number of women in state government when the Ready to Run event started 19 years ago. 

New Jersey ranks 16th today.

The Center says that a record number of women will run for office for the first time this November.

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