January 9, 2023

The Experience of Running for State Office as Told by 3 Pro-Life Student Leaders

The Pro-Life Generation is a generation of action and activism. Students for Life Action (SFLAction) helps recruit, train, and mobilize the next generation for pro-life advocacy and facilitates opportunities for them to make a positive impact for women and the preborn.  

As part of our strategy to introduce life-saving laws in all 50 states and turn activists into leaders, SFLAction supports the ambition of students seeking public office. While advocacy looks different for every pro-lifer, we are always encouraged by the motivated leaders that want to run for their local office to enact life-saving legislation.  

The following Q&A’s are with SFLAction Captains who work to mobilize other pro-life students to shut down abortion facilities, support pro-life legislation at their state capital, and mobilize to educate voters about where political candidates really stand on abortion.  

Alex Pickney of Century College reflected on his run in Minnesota’s 44A District:  

“One of the biggest lessons I learned from running for office is that you get to know the top concerns of political voters to see if you, as a candidate, can be the problem solver the voter is seeking. Having the mindset of problem solving can relieve a new candidate from the emotional hurdles of knocking on doors and getting to know the values and issues that voters are passionate about.  

Alex Pickney

“Another lesson I learned from running for office is that, depending on your area, your policies or ideas may not be popular with the voters and can lead to rejection at the door or at the polls. It is often stated that politics is downstream from culture, and voters are likely to vote for their cultural values and beliefs that differ from the candidate. This reality can shake the confidence of a political party or a candidate that decides to run in an area with different political views. 

“Politics is a tough endeavor to engage in, especially for newcomers, but it is also very rewarding. Candidates should always keep in mind what the top concerns are for voters in your area and how to communicate ideas persuasively.” 

Kaitlyn Ruch of Carroll College had a fierce run for Montana’s 84th District and reflected on the following:  

“As I think about every lesson that I’ve learned, every person that I’ve met, and every incredible experience that I’ve had, I think about all of the good, and all of the not so good. 

“Running for office is not for the faint of heart. The campaign trail is not the easiest trail to take. Rain or shine, whether it be above 100 degrees or below zero, you will be out, working your tail off to talk to people. I’ve learned that people might slam their door in your face or send you hateful messages. 

Kaitlyn Ruch

“I have also learned that there will be an abundance of people in your corner, and that people do care. People care about our future, and they are ready to place their trust in the next generation of leaders.” 

Geyer Balog started a Students for Life group at Alpena Community College and is a SFLAction Captain. The following is his experience of running for Michigan’s 106th District: 

“I met a lot of brilliant people who were willing to drop everything and get behind a candidate who they believed in. Even when things got rough, they always had my back and kept me going throughout the campaign. There were also several donors, which many I have yet to meet, that knew Michigan needed a fresh face to solve its old problems. 

“Lansing is ruled by an elite class of mega donors who do not have our best interests in mind. These donors will literally dump hundreds of thousands of dollars against a candidate who simply wants to serve the people instead of Lansing. I know this because I was that candidate and the lies they concocted were ridiculous, almost laughable. 

Geyer Balog

“A candidate that seeks to run for office in Michigan should trust no one. He or she should be focused on fundraising before he announces and should seek to make allies with others that are running around the state. He should also have a clearly outlined game plan for when he is elected, as nobody should spend their first term trying to learn the system.” 

SFLAction is tremendously proud of each of these leaders who took bold risks to get out there and try to change the way their local politics have been done for many years. We are fully in their corner as they prepare for new election seasons, and we strive to encourage them with pro-life education and measurable success. Each of their stories will undoubtedly inspire their peers and others to shake things up and step up to the plate where pro-life leaders are needed!


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