About 50 women attended a workshop, "Ready to Run Michigan," at Grand Valley April 21 on how to prepare to run for political office.
Ready to Run is a national, bipartisan program that targets states with low numbers of women serving in elected office. In the Michigan legislature, four women serve in the Senate (out of 38 seats) and 27 serve in the state House (out of 110 seats).
One of the attendees, Karen Groenhout, plans to run this fall for a circuit court seat in Muskegon County. Groenhout said the workshop was helpful, particularly for political newcomers.
“There is an amazing amount of oversight needed during the campaign process,” she said.
Groenhout added that a workshop to help women enter the political arena was needed. “I love the idea of getting more women in politics,” she said.
The keynote speaker for Ready to Run Michigan was Shirley Franklin, the first African American woman elected mayor of Atlanta. Franklin served as mayor from 2002-2010.
One of the panelists was former state Sen. Patty Birkholz, who now serves as director of the Office of Great Lakes.
Ready to Run Michigan is supported with funding from Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education, SMG Strategies, Ann Doyle Strategies, Meijer and Cascade Engineering.