Mothers Leading the Way

| Sofia Pereira

“As a mother to two daughters, I can’t sit by without doing everything possible to ensure that girls in the next generation grow up in a world where they are equal to everyone else and have the same opportunities as anyone.” – Erin Loos Cutraro, founder and CEO of She Should Run

At She Should Run, we are committed to expanding the talent pool of women running for office. We believe that women of all political leanings, ethnicities, and backgrounds should have an equal opportunity to lead in elected office and that our democracy will benefit from the varied perspectives and experiences that women bring to leadership. Mothers play an important role in our society and in politics. This Mother’s Day, we asked 3 mothers in our Incubator to share their experiences as mothers. Whether you’re a mother or a daughter, we hope you’re just as inspired as we are by these amazing mothers!


How did your mother or grandmother shape you to become the leader you are today?

My mother raised me to care about other people, to treat my neighbors as brothers and sisters. She took me volunteering with her for Meals on Wheels, visiting retirement homes, cleaning elderly shut-ins’ houses, and gathering donations for needy families. There was never a time my mother wasn’t helping someone, even though we were very poor ourselves. My childhood definitely shaped my politics; I believe that we should take care of each other.

-LaDawn Stuben, Candidate for Arizona State House


In my younger years, my mother played a vital role in shaping my feministic and strong views.  Being a single mother while raising my two younger sisters and I, we saw first hand that we did not need a man in our home to keep it functioning.  When home repairs needed to be completed, we did not have the money to hire someone so my mother would take us to the local home improvement store to fix it herself. My grandmother and my mom both push me for an academic education throughout my childhood and into my teen years.  When it was time to graduate from high school, I knew that I needed to fulfill that dream, not only for them but for me. Their dream became my dream. Due to that strong push for education, I now have my Masters in Social Work. Their push also helped me to believe that I was capable of anything I put my mind towards.

-Monique Rodriguez, Former Candidate for Deer Park ISD School Board Trustee


What are some barriers you’ve faced balancing motherhood and running for office?

I am fortunate that my husband was very supportive during my run for elected office.  He stayed home with our boys when I needed to be out campaigning. He and the boys joined me when it was appropriate.  I tried to make bedtime most nights to read to them but it was challenging…My boys were very proud of my campaign. They joined me on block walking, helping me stamp postcards, and help in any way they could support. My 2nd grader unintentionally even became my campaign surrogate at his school telling his peers and teachers about my campaign.  He even remembered my elevator pitch from saying it so many times in front of him in highlighting my credentials to ask his friends to tell their parents to vote for me. It was a tough campaign but I am glad I went through the journey.

-Monique Rodriguez, Former Candidate for Deer Park ISD School Board Trustee


Where to start! One of the most difficult parts is trying to be everywhere at once. I had to send an Uber to pick up my daughter from school when she missed the bus because I was at an event and couldn’t leave. I sometimes feel guilty about how much I have to be gone knocking doors, and I am totally exhausted when I get home!

I make sure to emphasize that it’s not forever, and luckily my kids support me and know what I’m doing is important. I’m fortunate to have an extremely supportive husband who has stepped up during campaign season to take over all the household chores.

-LaDawn Stuben, Candidate for Arizona State House


Why do you think we need more women, specifically mothers, running + serving in elected office?

Women are adept collaborators and problem solvers. We need a diversity of perspectives at the table in order to best represent our constituency.

-Genevieve Kurilec-McDonald, Candidate for Maine State Legislature


The perspective, experience, and voice at the leadership table when important matters are discussed are so critical to not only women but our entire community and society.  Diversity and inclusion of all personal and professional backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and an overall mix of different people are critical to ensure all ideas are considered in making better decisions.  It also allows everyone to learn from each other and grow. It promotes creativity and innovation. It also ensure that the most vulnerable populations are also considered in the dialogue of the decisions. Women and mothers in elected office are vital to our society’s success.

-Monique Rodriguez, Former Candidate for Deer Park ISD School Board Trustee


Views reflected by those featured in our content do not necessarily reflect the views of She Should Run. As you know, She Should Run is a nonpartisan organization. However, some of our guest contributors (and readers) may not be. That is totally okay! It means we’re all human. She Should Run is committed to celebrating the diversity of backgrounds in our community and lifting up the voices of all women.

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