‘Just frickin’ run,’ says candidate Kim Olson. 19 women in Texas are doing just that.

Kim Olson is the tough-as-nails former Air Force Colonel out of North Texas who is running for Congress in 2020. She has been making national headlines recently with a campaign video that went viral.

This is Olson’s second go at elected office. In 2018, she barely lost to the oddity that is Sid Miller for Agriculture Commissioner. At a campaign stop last year, wearing pink cowboy boots, she expressed the view of many women.

“Women are mad as hell and aren’t going to take this anymore. Full stop,” she said. “But it is not enough to be mad as hell. [I]n Texas, we have more women running for office more than any other state in the union.”

During that campaign, she realized the differences between men and women on the campaign trail.

“Women don’t walk through dark parking lots without looking over our shoulders, we’re very conscious of our space because of certain vulnerability— and that’s not any different on the trail,” Olson told The Texas Signal.

“The press does have different expectations for men than for women, it’s just not something we’ve gotten over yet.” 

Bottom line advice, though, from Olson: “Just frickin’ run. Things change when women become leaders and have voices where policies and processes can be changed to represent everybody.”

Olson is one of the nineteen Texas Democratic women, so far, who have signed up to run for Congress in 2020, according to Federal Election Campaign data reviewed by the Texas Signal. Two are running for the U.S. Senate (with a third “seriously considering” it) and 17 are vying for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. They include Iraq War veteran Gina Ortiz Jones of San Antonio and Julie Oliver in the Austin region. 

Texas ranks a mediocre 37th in the nation for women elected to office, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

But the very act of running for office and winning is in and of itself a panacea to recruiting more women to elected office.

“You can’t be what you don’t see,” said Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. 

And for that, says Nancy Bocskor of Texas Woman’s University, the male-dominated space of politics has been permanently blown up. 

“For most of our nation’s history, the political narrative was one-sided: white and male. With more women now taking office, the narrative is changed forever.”

Photo: Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

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