Perhaps you’ve heard me say representation matters a time or two. Or maybe you’ve heard me say it a million times or two in the span of about five minutes. Either way, you know I’m a fan.

And perhaps you also know that I won an election this past fall to represent Ward 3 on City Council in West St. Paul, MN. I’m now the first openly LGBTQ person to serve on our city council. We’re a first ring suburb in the Twin Cities, which has over 3 million people if you combine Minneapolis and St. Paul, and one of the largest Pride festivals in the country. It’s progressive and diverse. It was baffling to me that it took that long to make that happen.

Today is National Out to Win Day. Running for office isn’t easy for anyone. I don’t care what people say. It’s not easy as part of the LGBTQ community for several more reasons. When you knock on someone’s door or introduce yourself to someone at a community event, you don’t know how they’re going to respond. My intent isn’t to scare people away by saying that, but an attempt to show how badly we need more representation. We can’t keep moving our communities into positive and we can’t make progress until more of us are represented at those levels.

For my LGBTQ folks, consider running for office. Any office. We have to be told over and over and over in order for it to resonate that we can do something like this and that we can make a difference. I’m here to tell you that same thing again. You can be a voice, not only for people in the LGBTQ community, for other people in marginalized and underrepresented groups that haven’t had these voices.

And for people that are reading this because they thought it might have something to do with human resources, here’s some breaking news. It has to do with humans and that’s your bag. When we’re underrepresented, we need our voices amplified. Help those around you move into positions where they can do that. That’s a true ally.