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SHEs in Office: Lauren LaViola

Today’s guest blogger is Lauren LaViola, a nonprofit professional from Nashville, TN who is starting her journey into local politics by applying to Emerge Tennessee. Emerge Tennessee is an organization that increases the number of Democratic women leaders from diverse backgrounds in public office through recruitment, training and providing a powerful network. When Lauren isn’t working or preparing for her future, she spends time with her husband, Boyd, her cat KiKi, and two rescue dogs, Maya and Lexi. 

 

Who are your political SHEroes?
I would have to say Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Elizabeth Warren.

When did you first become interested in politics?
I’ve been interested in politics since I was in middle school. I wrote an essay titled, “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” about becoming the first female president. I’ve always been drawn to leadership roles and positions and that, combined with my compassion and empathy for others, led me to politics and the drive to fight for equality and peace.

I decided that I could either sit around and complain and be angry, or I could find a way to use this energy to make change and be a voice for those who don’t have one.What is Emerge Tennessee, and what spurred you to become involved with the organization?
Emerge Tennessee is the premier campaign-training program for Democratic women in the state. The Emerge program inspires women to run, and hones their skills to win. Their goal is to increase the number of Democratic women in all levels of public office. Emerge Tennessee is an affiliate of Emerge America, a national organization operating in 24 states. I became interested in Emerge after learning about it from Emily Passini during the 2016 election. Emily is now the Chief of Staff for the Office of Mayor David Briley. Following the election I needed a way to direct my frustration with our government and the current political climate. I’m a little older now and, not having a career past in politics, I want to make sure that I’m appropriately educated and prepared to serve in a political position.

What do you hope will come from getting involved with politics in Nashville, TN? Where do you hope your journey will lead?
I hope that I can help to be a vessel for the voices of those who are currently underserved. I also hope to start more productive conversation amongst those who currently see themselves as “enemies” and bridge the gap between political parties to find common ground based on shared experiences and interests. I don’t know where this journey will lead me. Regardless of if I hold a political office in my future, I hope to become more educated on the laws of the state and the country, and I hope that somewhere along this journey I can make a positive difference in the lives of others.


What advice would you give to other SHEs like you who are interested in getting involved in politics, but may be hesitant?
My advice would be that you have to follow your heart and your passion. If you feel pulled in the direction of politics I think that really means something. Yes, it’s scary, and it’s challenging, but I think that’s more of a reason to do it. I have to quote people. One is Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” The other person is Hillary Clinton: “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” I couldn’t agree more. Women are missing in the political conversation. Help to change the course of history. It needs us!

Only a few days to Midterms 2018! Are you registered to vote? Check now and make sure you’ll be ready to use your voice on November 6th! Plus, check out our latest SHEs in Office post featuring activist Aylin Segura!

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