Record numbers of women have been energized to get involved in politics since the 2016 presidential election. KQED decided to help tell those women’s stories, and asked our audience to join us in this endeavor we're calling “The Long Run.” We chose four women across the state and across ethnic groups to share their experiences with us, and we checked in with them over the course of their campaigns.
Myel Jenkins is a first-time candidate running for a seat on the San Juan Unified School District Board of Education in Sacramento County. She launched her campaign in February and says she can finally see the finish line.
On why she's running:
"I'm running because I'm a parent who's been in our district since 2007. I'm running because I want to ensure that the voices of our parents are represented when it comes to decision-making, and I feel like I can do that. And I can do that even more by bringing forth a point of view of a family of color, an African-American, biracial family."
On the importance of family support:
"When I decided to run it was really a family decision of really asking (my sons) Dominic and August, my husband, Greg, and my mom, Dee, if they were all in it with me, and everyone said yes. And even after I launched we reconvened and I said, 'OK are we still in it?' And everyone said yes again. Because truth be told, I cannot run and I cannot run successfully if Greg wasn't by my side supporting me, and Dominic and August and my mom contributing. This would be a nearly impossible uphill battle."
On the surprises of campaigning:
"There's nothing that I've experienced in my life that's comparable to running a campaign and being a candidate. But I have to say I've had some really pleasant surprises that I just wasn't anticipating. And one of those surprises has been the level and intensity of the support I've received from family, from friends, from colleagues."
On the role of women in the 2018 election:
"It really strikes me in this year of the woman that a lot of this intense support that I receive is from other women."
"I'm working on making sure that I'm positive and, as a woman running against two other women, that I'm not tearing them down. But I'm building up myself and I'm creating an environment where they can build themselves up as well. But that we are finding ways to be different. And that I am standing out from my uniqueness, my strengths and my qualities."
On getting close to the election:
"There's been a lot of milestones between the time I launched, about 10 months before the election, to now where we are. I can see the finish line and the transition from election to hopefully being able to serve on my school board and to make a difference."