I’ve entered the ring as a candidate for Illinois State Representative in the 17th district. I’ve never run for public office. How did I get here?
Despair. At First
I woke up on November 9th, 2016 with a heavy heart. I was flabbergasted at the results of the Presidential Election. I somberly started the process of getting myself prepared to face the world, for I had a big job ahead of me, I had to help my students process through what had taken place. The United State of America had elected an unapologetic bully who pushed fear and lies. It was a long winter and Inauguration Day was fast approaching. I felt like I needed to take action. I had decided to take the long drive out to D.C., through the urging of an old college friend, to attend the March for Women. This task gave me purpose and hope, something so many of us desperately needed at this moment in history.
You Marched. Now What?
I marched, I chanted, I even made a special shirt for the occasion. The energy surrounding the day was invigorating. But, then I headed home and was confronted with the chorus of critics and an echo of the question, “You Marched, Now what?”
I started the unnerving process of answering that question and sought out opportunities to be more involved. I had also been a student of politics and government and had spent the last decade attempting to instill the importance of civil engagement in my students. I never shied away from political discourse, I attended local government meetings taking the opportunity to speak during public participation, and keep my ear to the ground for news and policy changes at all levels. Still, I was intimidated by taking on a more active role.
Ready to Step Out of My Comfort Zone
That all changed on a cold February evening when I attended my first North Shore Indivisible meeting. After organizer Scott Horwitz presented his vision for the group, I was ready to step out of my comfort zone and dedicate myself to the group. Although I was not quite sure how to proceed, I looked to Scott’s leadership and soaked up as much information as possible from the other Admins. Soon I was taking on leadership roles and giving presentations at our large group meetings. The energy and hope North Shore Indivisible gave me only multiplied.
The opportunity has come for me to take another daunting leap in my journey of civil engagement. The State Representative seat in my district is open and I am throwing my hat into the ring. I am running for Illinois State Representative in the 17th district this upcoming election. The spark on engagement that North Shore Indivisible lit in me is the major reason that I even considered taking this monumental step.
You Should Run for Something
If you are like me, take the opportunity to engage in a meaningful way. Every little step is important. Come join us at North Shore Indivisible. And if you are in the 17th, look for me. Get informed and get involved.
Theresa R. Coomer