The other day someone asked me if I would ever consider working in politics.
Once I stopped hysterically laughing I paused, gasping for breath, and said … “Um. No.”
The reason for that, frankly, is that by and large I find politics utterly and completely distasteful – mostly because of the vitriolic, partisan bullshit that often accompanies any effort to get anything done. To put it more simply – I just don’t have the stomach for it.
I am, however, glad that there are some whose skin and intestinal fortitude are stronger than mine. People whose strength of conviction and passion for pursuing and accomplishing change allow them to push beyond the superficial nonsense and stay in the game. People who have powerful convictions and stand by them. People who boldly tell their authentic story, show who they are and make no apologies. People like Kyrsten Sinema.
It was at TED 2012 when I had the pleasure of meeting Kyrsten for the first time. An Arizona native, she’d recently announced her intentions to run for US Congress in the freshly minted 9th Congressional District, resigning her seat in the Arizona State Senate to do so. It’s been a rough race already – and it’s only primary season – which means that the nasty attacks are coming from members of her own party. Nice.
I was talking with Kyrsten about her perspective on this phenomenon – the rising tide of spite-filled political campaigns, and thought she had some great insights. So I asked her to join me as a guest on my weekly podcast. She graciously agreed.
You can listen in LIVE at 10am Pacific time on Tuesday, July 31, and hear some lively debate for yourself by clicking on this link.
If you’d like to know a bit more about Kyrsten you can follow her on Twitter, check out her Facebook page, or read a little about her below, a bio which is courtesy of Wikipedia (of course you can do all three…):Born in Tucson, Arizona, to conservative Mormon parents, Sinema moved to Phoenix in 1995. After graduating from Walton High School in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, at the age of 16, she attended Brigham Young University on a Benson Scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1994. She then attended Arizona State University where she earned a masters degree in social work in 1999 and then a Juris Doctor in 2004. She was a social worker in the Washington Elementary School District before becoming a criminal defense lawyer. In 2001, she ran for the Phoenix City Council District 8. In a nine candidate race, she ranked last with just 2% of the vote.
Sinema first ran for the Arizona House of Representatives in 2002, as an independent. She ranked last, got only 8% of the vote, and lost the general election to Ken Clark and Wally Straughn. She ran again in 2004 but this time as a Democrat. In the Democratic primary, she ranked first with 37% of the vote. David Lujan won election with 34%, and Straughn lost with 29%. She won re-election in 2004 (30%), 2006 (33%), and 2008 (38%). In 2010, she retired in the State House and ran for a seat in the Arizona Senate. Sinema defeated Republican Bob Thomas 63%-37%
In 2006 she co-chaired Arizona Together, the statewide campaign that defeated Proposition 107, which would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona. In 2008, she also led the campaign against Proposition 102, a narrowed down version of Proposition 107. Proposition 102 was approved by 56% of voters in the general election on November 4, 2008.
A supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, Sinema was a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. In July 2009, she published her first book, entitled Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and Last.
In 2010 she was picked as one of Time Magazine’s “40 Under 40″ saying “In an epic election cycle, a new generation of civic leaders is already at work trying to fix a broken system—and restore faith in the process. Meet the rising stars of American politics”.
In June 2011, Sinema said she was considering running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.
On January 3, 2012, Sinema announced her bid for Congress, in the newly created 9th Congressional District. Although not required to do so under Arizona’s resign-to-run laws, she voluntarily gave up her seat in the Arizona Senate that same day. If elected, Sinema would be the first openly bisexual member of Congress.