Meet Caitlin Clarkson Pereira: Your New Favorite Girl Boss Running for Office

As soon as I heard about Caitlin’s campaign in my hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut, I did what I always do; turn to Twitter. Upon finding her at @CaitlinForCT, I quickly fell in love with her message and everything she stood for. She comes from an education background and I saw her passion, her resilience, and most importantly, her desire for change. I slid into Caitlin’s DM’s and asked her how I could get involved. Within minutes, Caitlin responded and the rest has been history. I’ve helped Caitlin with canvassing, phone banking, standing outside of polling stations to encourage people to vote for her, and this weekend I’ll be heading home to go on a door knocking date with my boyfriend for her campaign. Because I mean, couples who participate in democracy together, stay together, right?!

Natalie and Caitlin’s first interaction on Twitter

What immediately drew me into Caitlin was the fact this is her first time running for public office. She’s running for State Representative in Connecticut’s 132nd District to beat out the Republican incumbent Brenda Kupchick. Caitlin is a huge social justice advocate and her main critique of Kupchick was her unwillingness to speak out on important issues or only doing so when it was convenient for her.

Now what made her run, you ask? According to the Fairfield Citizen, Caitlin was staying at Disneyland with her daughter the night Trump was elected and immediately turned to her sleeping daughter and went “No.” Caitlin eloquently stated, “I’m at a point now — especially with wanting to be a role model for my daughter, where we are politically, and the opportunities for women to speak up and hopefully make a difference for future generations — where I feel like it’s not enough.” YES, CAITLIN.

Photo taken from Caitlin’s Twitter / @CaitlinForCT

Since then, Caitlin has been working TIRELESSLY. She’s constantly knocking on doors, posting vlogs on her Facebook about her canvassing, and tweeting out encouraging messages and articles.

My favorite hashtags of hers include #FightLikeAMom and #FlipTheSeat. She has recently been interviewed by HuffPost for her @NoBanJFK twitter account she made to tweet out updates during the travel ban.

Caitlin’s work doesn’t stop there. She has an endorsement from the Victory Fund, an organization that helps to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBT Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government.

She also has an endorsement from Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence, being named a “Candidate of Distinction” in recognition for her support for gun violence prevention and advocating for common sense gun laws. Sandy Hook hit so close to home for Connecticut residents, but especially for Caitlin. She actually named her daughter Parker after one of the children from the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Photo taken from Caitlin’s Twitter of Caitlin and her daughter Parker  / @CaitlinForCT

As if trying to beat out an incumbent seat and putting your blood, sweat, and tears into your campaign isn’t enough work, Caitlin is now fighting the state to use campaign funds for childcare. According to the CT Post, “the SEEC issued an informal opinion in August stating Pereira could not use campaign money to pay for a babysitter.” Caitlin surely isn’t the only woman, or parent, running for office and battling this issue.

She beautifully states, “The main reason I wanted to continue fighting was the reason that I made the request in the first place: which was to make sure that all of us can run for office, regardless of being a parent or not having access to a lot of superfluous funds. If the decision had been a yes, then it would have possibly opened the door for more women and possibly parents, in general, to run for office.”

Photo taken from ctpost.com of Caitlin and Parker canvassing

Last week, Caitlin was involved in a hit-in-run accident after attending a voter registration event at my former school, the University of Connecticut at Stamford. Luckily, the injuries weren’t too bad despite having to be hospitalized. Being the badass woman she is, Caitlin posted “please don’t send cards, send canvassers.” She then proceeded to attend a Board of Ed debate the following night. Talk about serious dedication!

I asked Caitlin if there were any words of encouragement she has for us women at HCBU and here’s what she had to say:

"My decision to run for office was certainly about flipping the seat in my district, but it was also about showing women (particularly young women) that running for office is possible. Growing up, the majority of individuals I saw running were men. I didn't realize how much that impacted my way of thinking about a future role until after college. If just one female young professional, college student, or mom contemplates jumping into a race in the future and thinks, 'I remember when Caitlin ran for office...,' and that allows them to believe in themselves and causes them to get involved, then all the blood, sweat, tears, and callused knuckles of this campaign are worth it. I have had the privilege of presenting to a few groups of female college students over the years, and I always end my presentation with this thought: We can't be what we can't see, so it's up to us to change the visual."

If you want to help Caitlin in this final week, feel free to contact me or her to see how you can get involved (even if it’s from here in Boston!) If you’re interested in following her journey you can find her:

Facebook: Caitlin Clarkson Pereira for State Representative

Instagram/Twitter: @CaitlinForCT

Website: www.caitlinforct.com

 

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