Walk With Us Interview - Laura Kostin
Laura Kostin is a local politics powerhouse. Hailing from Greenwich, Connecticut, this former breaking news producer got her start in politics on her local RTM - Representative Town Meeting. Her run for office was sparked in early 2017, when her longtime RTM District Leader was charged with sexual assault in the 4th degree, and she knew that her district deserved better representation.
In 2018, she stepped up to run for State Representative in Connecticut's District 151. She ran as a Democrat in a red district, and unfortunately did not come out on top against her incumbent opponent. Keep reading to find out what she's proudest of, who inspires her, and her advice to others out there who may be contemplating a run for political office.
IamMoi: She Should Run claims that women need to be asked more than once before they seriously consider running for public office. Was this true in your experience? Who encouraged you to run?
Laura Kostin: I actually expressed an interest because no one was stepping up. I was so lucky to have a supportive party behind me.
IamMoi: What is the aspect of your run that you’re proudest of?
LK: Being an endorsed by our hometown paper over an entrenched incumbent was an especially proud moment for me. I’m also proud of every connection I made with a voter when I was out campaigning. I’m so grateful for every single person who supported me.
IamMoi: What do you wish more people knew about local politics or local elections?
LK: I hope people realize that candidates who run really do it for love of serving. There’s little money in it, here in CT where State Reps make modest salaries and really do it for the love of service.
IamMoi: What do you wish more people knew about how to support their local campaign?
LK: I don’t think door-knocking and phone banking are part of everyday vocabulary for many constituents. And that’s ok. But we’re all invested in who represents us. So, don’t worry about being inexperienced. Just being engaged is the start.
IamMoi: Do you plan to stay politically involved despite your loss?
LK: I absolutely intend to remain active. I’ve been canvassing and phone-banking this week!
LK: My advice would be to do the necessary gut check. Politics can be difficult. It can be cut-throat. It can be absolutely full contact. Believing in yourself is important. We are all imperfect, but we all have the ability to do good and be better than we were yesterday.
IamMoi: Who was the first woman who inspired you?
LK: I idolized Christiane Amanpour (CNN) and Sue Herera (CNBC) for as long as I can remember. They both have a place in my heart.
IamMoi: Who was the woman who most recently inspired you?
LK: I was absolutely inspired by Hillary Clinton. She’s so accomplished, incredibly sincere and relatable. But we are so blessed to have so many women who serve our country admirably on the Supreme Court and in Congress and even in our State Legislature.
IamMoi: CT State Elections Enforcement Commission ruled in April that childcare is not a permissible expense for which a candidate can spend campaign funds. The committee, which consists of five men, ruled unanimously. You ran for office with four young kids. What was your experience like with that?
LK: That is unfortunate. Women, mothers often face a clear barrier to running. I did my best to door-knock while my kids were at camp or school so it wouldn’t affect their lives too much. I did the best I could to preserve their sense of continuity. However, I will say, they were used to my pretty non-traditional work schedule. They’re slightly desensitized because of it.
IamMoi: What unique challenges did you face as a young mom running for office, that you wish this panel of men and others knew about?
LK: Am I young still? Haha. I think it’s challenging for ANYONE to run. It’s a huge sacrifice and anyone who does it in good faith is to be commended.
Has Laura's story inspired you to run for office?? Check out She Should Run's Incubator, a set of online courses that provide assistance every step of the way. Does Laura remind you of an incredible woman in your life who should run? Nominate her with She Should Run's Ask a Woman to Run tool! We're proud to support this incredible organization and their work towards getting at least 250,000 women to run for office by 2030. When we rise, we WIN!