City Council candidate works to get other women elected

Dear TRENDS Diary -

Every major change I’ve made in my life, I’ve done in the context of a group of supportive women. I graduated from Emerge Colorado in June, a program whose goal is to get Democratic women to run for office and win. My Emerge classmates and coaches gave me the confidence, courage, and support I needed to consider running for Boulder City Council this November.

The Emerge program helped me unlearn internal misogyny and sexism to embrace the idea that power shows up in many ways. 

I grew up believing I could study and work in places that are made for men– in business, science, math, and politics– but only if I do it in a certain way. I now see I can show up to these spaces as my authentic self: a queer, Christian, unpretentious, audacious, scientist-mom-businesswoman. 

Emerge taught me I can best serve my community when I do not force myself into a box that limits my ability to lead. We can disrupt the ideas of what power looks like and who should be there and in the process create a more welcoming, inclusive community for all of us.

Recently a friend and I started a group of folks in town who are interested in city politics and aren’t currently represented to the degree that they ought to be. We’re thinking about how we can help the women who will be running for office this year get elected. 

So much of where power comes from is through informal relationships and “who you know.” I want to change the way we think about who it is we know. 

We can intentionally build an alternative, diverse space where people underrepresented in politics can build the networks necessary to formalize their leadership roles in our community.

- Nicole Speer as told to Will Betke-Brunswick