BY SOPHIE RAYMOND
According to the Rise to Run website, the average age of women in politics is 47. That’s something the grassroots movement, which works to mobilize progressive young women to run for office, wants to change.
Rise to Run launched in May, inspired by the outpouring of support for the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., in January. The group educates high school- and college-age women about the political process and works to engage them in local government.
Bloomington is home to one of the first Rise to Run community programs, thanks to the efforts of gun safety activist Rachel Guglielmo and Regina Moore, former four-term Bloomington city clerk. The two Rise to Run Bloomington co-coordinators participated in the Women’s March and launched the local program in September.
“Women stood up all over the country and it was inspiring,” Guglielmo says. “This is an attempt to extend that power, deepen it, and sustain it for the long term.”
One way Rise to Run participants will learn about the political process is by working on the campaigns of women candidates. “When they see the rewards of being involved, and the things one is able to do as a person holding public office, then it kind of lights a spark,” Guglielmo says.
Rise to Run emphasizes diversity and encourages women of all backgrounds to join. Moore says that Bloomington is especially receptive to this inclusivity. “It’s a very fertile field for this kind of thing,” she says.
Kathy Loser, who mentors women in the program, says Bloomington’s local government lacks diversity, something she hopes Rise to Run will change. “Bloomington is diverse and we need to celebrate that,” Loser says.