There are many times in our lives where random flames of passion are ignited in us—when we meet “the one,” when an idea sparks in our brain, when we discover a new found love for a snack and that’s all we seem to want to consume from that point on, and so on. One of these flames hit me, and hit me hard, when I fell into the political realm.

When I was growing up, I never really had a set idea on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had several interests I thought, “Eh, I could make it work,” but nothing that I thought could really drive me to get out of bed every morning, or to not wake up hating my daily routine. As I got closer to the voting age, however, I started to gain an interest into what was happening in the world, in the nation, and in my state, because after all—my voice was about to have a say, so I might always understand what I’m saying.

I began to get involved with various organizations, attend several leadership and political conferences, and really sink my teeth into the dirty world of politics. By the grace of God, a light came through the clouds and pointed me to Future Female Leaders’ cabinet application, and that’s when it all began.

I began to volunteer with a local campaign for sheriff in my county, and then I started to intern on a Senate campaign.  Most recently, I got involved with a campaign for governor. These experiences were the good, dirty, hands-on, grassroots type of work. To a lot of people my age, even just one campaign is too much of a work load on them, let alone three—and I can’t deny the fact that it’s a ton of work, but it pays for itself, believe me, and in more ways than just a beautiful addition to a résumé.

Whether you’re paid staff, an intern, or even just a volunteer for a day, everything you’re doing for that campaign is changing every aspect of that election. The phone calls you make, the doors you knock on, the stickers you pass out at events, and the hours you spend looking for sign locations around the area are critical to the advancement of your candidate. You are making a difference in your hometown, in your district, in your state, and even the entire nation. You’re helping the voices of the every day people reach the politicians. You’re helping the issues held so important to you be heard by someone. Helping politics become something that people don’t have to dread and complain about day in and day out because you’re working to get the right people in those offices and make a difference.

One of the best aspects of working on a campaign is being around other people who are also so passionate about who they’re working for, what those people stand for, and how they’re bettering where they live. You meet some incredible individuals and vital contacts. Who you’re with can honestly be a factor in the determination of just how much you enjoy what you do every day. For example, since I began to work on the aforementioned Senate campaign and until I move away to college this fall, I’ve had to commute 45 minutes in order to be in the office with my bosses and fellow interns. However, that’s become virtually nothing to me. Why? Because the people there are my new best friends. They’re my family, and I love them so much. They’re incredibly passionate, incredibly motivated, and incredibly caring. In the short time I have worked with them, they’ve not only caused my passion for politics to grow, they’ve also made me a better person.

By attending events and making a noticeable impact on the campaign you become involved with, you can also develop a relationship with that individual, whether they’re a person running from your hometown to make a difference there or a Senator who is taking a stand in Washington. I can tell you from experience how incredible it feels to have people pretty high up on a campaign staff chain congratulate me on calling 800 people in a day, or a Senator personally thank me for my hard work and remember who I am every time we meet. These candidates running for office, any office at any level, are real people, and everyone back home tends to forget that. Your relationship with them can change how people see them, and can even change how they vote during the election.

When I first started representing FFL, it didn’t take long for opportunities to head my way, and I’m incredibly greatful for that. At the beginning of this summer, I had no idea I would be in the position I am today. I love it.

All you have to do to make a difference is take the first step. Pick up the phone. Knock on a door. Reach out to someone, anyone. If you’re passionate about something, pursue it—I can’t express that enough. Get involved with a campaign, whether it’s in your hometown or in Washington, D.C., and just watch your life take off. It can lead to so much more and such bigger things for you, as long as you work hard and can say you will do everything you can to help win that election. You just have to get involved. I thank God every day that I did.

Emily W
FFL Cabinet Member
Emily is a Crimson Tide-lovin' Conservative whose callings in life are to raise self-esteem & eat tons of pizza rolls. Usually spotted at home, in her bed, because Desperate Housewives has replaced her social life. Roll tide.

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