Kelli Ward is an American politician and physician. Ward was elected in 2012 to serve in the Arizona State Senate representing the fifth legislative district as a member of the Republican Party.
In 2012, Ward entered politics by running for a seat in the Arizona State Senate, and was unopposed for reelection in 2014. Last July, she announced her candidacy for the United States Senate, challenging incumbent U.S. Senator John McCain in the Republican primary in the 2016 election. She is a strong conservative, fearless female leader, and she plans to unseat Senator McCain and shake up DC. Find out more about Kelli Ward with our interview below!
Future Female Leader aims to engage, encourage, and empower young conservative women by providing positive role models to our readers. Who were your role models growing up, and do you have any role models now?
My mom has always been my greatest role model, and she still is. She and my dad always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be if I worked hard and didn’t give up. My mom taught elementary school when I was young – in fact, she was my teacher in first grade. Unfortunately, she and my dad got divorced, but that didn’t stop my mom! She always wanted to be a doctor and being on her own gave her the push she needed to go for it. She started medical school when I was a senior in high school. We’ve been so blessed because we had a mother-daughter medical practice for about 10 years – we got to live out that dream. She retired in September of 2015 and now she is one of my biggest helps on the campaign trail. It is amazing to share this once in a lifetime experience with my mom.
What inspired you to run for United States Senate?
Along with the majority of American voters, I’ve grown frustrated (and angry and disappointed and even disgusted) with the direction our country is going under the “leadership” of career politicians in Washington, DC. I never thought I’d run for office. let alone for the US Senate. Obamacare and Medicaid expansion were the policies that pushed me into running for office the first time. Politicians and bureaucrats were setting out to destroy my profession and to ruin the great health care that we as patients often take for granted. Medicaid expansion is a pillar of Obamacare and it is the biggest expansion of welfare to healthy, working-age, childless adults that this country has ever seen. I believe that we need experts to shape those policies & politicians have not been reaching out to the right people. I ran for the AZ State Senate and won as an underdog in a 3 way race because of my expertise and message of small govt, low taxes, a strong defense, personal responsibility, and following the Constitution. I was asked by many people to run for the US Senate. I was an extremely effective state senator who was able to get many pieces of common sense legislation signed into law – policies that shrink government and take the heavy hand of govt off the heads of businesses so they can grow; welfare reform, health care reform, and education reform. I want to take that common sense approach to DC. I want to bring new ideas and energy to the US Senate. I want AZ to have a Republican Senator who represents their values – our values!
What events led you to align yourself with conservatism?
I grew up in the then-Democrat state of WV. When I first registered to vote, I signed up as a D just like my parents and grandparents. After graduating from Duke University, I worked as an environmental chemist for a year (yes, that was a sure way for me to discover that I really DID want to go to medical school!). The people in my lab listened to Rush Limbaugh every day. At first I wondered what the heck they were doing – where was the music?! I’d never heard talk radio before. But the more I listened, the more a message of conservatism appealed to me and made sense. I found myself agreeing with so much of what was said and a conservative Republican was born! Of course, I was far from being a political activist at the age of 22. I am always amazing to see young men and women like my 19 year old daughter & FFL, Katie, who already understand how much politics affects their day to day lives. It took the events of September 11, 2001, to really wake me up politically. After that day, an awake, aware, and activated conservative Republican was born.
Do you have any words of advice for young people in the political field?
Know yourself. Don’t give up your principles or your values for a political job. The glimmer and glow from a high-ranking official may look good from afar, but if that person is part of what is wrong in politics, don’t get sucked in – use your talents and abilities to change things rather than maintain the status quo, or worse yet, make things worse. Don’t be afraid to reach out to elected officials and others in politics. Share your ideas. Don’t be defensive if someone doesn’t agree with you. Make your case and stand firm without being petty or belittling. Don’t give up! Conservative, principled young people of today are the key to this country’s success tomorrow.
A slogan of your campaign is “shaking up DC” Can you explain what you mean by that and how you plan to shake it up?
#ShakeUpDC is a great hashtag because it inspires people of all ages to get involved to change the status quo in Washington. Washington isn’t working – it can’t innovate, it can’t get out of its own way. Congress has a dismal approval rating. Many elected officials have forgotten that they work for us, not the other way around. Career politicians and the elite media have created an environment that isn’t working for regular Americans. This year is the year of the outsider. Voters are looking for new ideas and people with backbones to take on the Establishment and win. I plan to go to DC as a representative of the people. Too many of the 535 people in DC right now want us to believe that they are the only ones out of over 300 million people in the USA who can do the job they currently do. I respectfully disagree. America is missing out on great leaders who could be putting us on the right path in this country because so many people who are elected stay in office in DC for their entire adult lives. This has to stop and to stop it, we have to shake up DC!
What is one thing you would like FFL readers to know?
Get involved! Shape the future by making things happen. I’ve always wanted to help make good things happen rather than complaining when something happens to me. Be that woman – the one who is dependable, the one who has a positive outlook, the one who builds up others around her, the ONE. Women have so much on their plates and we can handle a lot. We can truly have it all thanks to women who came before us who made sacrifices in their own lives to lead to the equality we enjoy today. Stay grounded in what is important – for me it is my faith, my family, and my profession. Always keep those things in mind, work hard, be persistent, stay motivated, take care of you (don’t forget!) and you can do anything!
How can our readers find out more and get involved in your campaign?
I am looking for a team of strong female leaders to help change the face of DC. Arizona has never had a female US Senator – the time is now! Be a part of history by joining Team Ward today. Sign up on my website www.KelliWard.com, LIKE my FB page and become a regular contributor there www.Facebook.com/KelliWardForArizona, and join me on Twitter to help spread my message and increase my name ID @KelliWardAZ. We have job opportunities and internships as well as slots for volunteers. Contact my political director, Emily Yu (an amazing FFL herself) at Emily@KelliWard.com for more information.