I am Lorrie Janatopoulos and I ran for St. Louis County Commissioner in 2010 and for Minnesota State Representative in 2012. And, although I have been involved in electoral politics since eleventh grade - always helping other candidates - I never thought that I would actually run for office myself.
I said all those things to myself that so many women do - I didn't think that I was qualified enough, I worried about what would come out about me in the press and I always thought that there was a better candidate. The truth is that running for office was one of the best things that I have done in my life and I wish that I had run earlier than I did. VoteRunLead helped me realize that I was the best candidate. I realized that I shouldn't be asking why me, I should be asking why not me?
My lived experience and my beliefs and views are ones that aren't represented often by men. I have started nonprofits, served on numerous boards and worked in the trenches for women's, children's and LGBT justice for over three decades. A survivor of domestic violence, I went back to school and graduated college at the age of 40, summa cum laude. I worked for St. Louis County Commissioner Liz Prebich for nearly a decade and knew the job inside and out. Vote, Run, Lead gave me the tools and confidence I needed to realize that not only could I run, I should run.
Now, I didn't win either time and although that matters because I would love being an elected official and I would be good at it, the experience was invaluable regardless. I met such great people, I learned so very much and I learned a whole lot about myself. I also learned that my voice matters and I was able to make public those things I believe in. Your voice matters, too. And you should run for office - we need you!