Warhawk alumna strives to change political landscape

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Cassie Steiner is working to change the landscape in politics today.

The 2015 graduate of UW-Whitewater’s international studies major hopes to become a politician and continue to bring women into a political picture that she describes as being currently dominated by men.

“I think like many women growing up, I had a lot of men who were involved in student government, but I never felt like I had a home being super involved in politics,” Steiner said.

Because of this feeling, when she heard about the organization Emerge, she knew she needed to give it a shot.

“Decision makers are not listening to their constituents,” Steiner said. “I want to become a candidate so I can learn how to run effective elections and win. I want to better represent what Wisconsinites really want and work for.”

Emerge is a national program that aims to  encourage Democratic women to pursue public office and helps train these women in how to be successful politicians.

The program meets once a month for six months with a different theme or subject each time.

Some of these themes include public speaking, campaign planning, fundraising, leadership and how to recruit volunteers. Members also get to network with other women in politics that can help them get where they want to be.

Wisconsin’s chapter of Emerge is approaching 300 members according to Executive Director of Emerge Wisconsin Erin Forrest. She said the program is making a big difference.

“We’re training women because broader representation makes for better government,” she said.

As for Steiner, her mentor sees a load of potential.

“I think Cassie would be great in politics. She’s very passionate and very motivated, and she really cares about her community,” Forrest said. “That shows through the work she does both professionally and as a volunteer. She has a really great way of bringing people together.”

Steiner said the program has changed her and has better prepared her for the future. While she hasn’t made any official plans, Steiner said she would like to start her political career on the local level and see where life takes her from there.

“I want to start locally in order to connect directly with constituents such as on the county board. In the long term I hope to continue to be in movement spaces and continue to work for the betterment of people,” Steiner said.

That betterment began here on campus as a Warhawk.

“A lot of my experiences at Whitewater really helped me set me on this path, and I am really thankful for UW-Whitewater and the foundation it gave me. As I started to become more outspoken I began to see a difference in the way people see me,” Steiner said.

UW-Whitewater women’s and gender studies associate professor Ellie Schemenauer said that the push for women in democracy is at an all-time high.

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