Jenifer Sarver embodies the core values of success: resilience and grit. She says one has to “bounce back up, face challenges, face them head-on, learn from them, dust [oneself] off, and move forward.” Sarver grew up near the U.S.-Mexico border and is now the owner of Sarver Strategies in Austin, Texas. In 2018, she ran to represent Texas’ 21st District in the United States Congress. Her family was always civically engaged, primarily in their church community. She was able to understand that while she may not have grown up with much, she was privileged in comparison to many people in her community. Whether she was adopting families in Colonias so that they could celebrate Christmas, or expanding her communication skills within the political realm, Sarver developed an understanding of how important it is to ensure that everyone has a voice. She has remained consistent and grounded in her views, and after high school, decided to pursue a life in public service.
Kathie Tovo, current Mayor Pro Tem representing City Council District 9 in Austin, Texas, did not grow up envisioning herself working in politics. Kathie did not have politically involved parents, so it wasn’t until attending college that she began to figure out her political views. Those views turned out to be different than her family’s. Nevertheless, she felt free to engage in political activities on campus, such as rallies. After college, she guided her career toward teaching writing and interdisciplinary studies at the college level and working at Humanities Texas. In her spare time, she began getting involved in neighborhood affairs and became vice president and president of different neighborhood associations. Her passion for the issues she was dealing with began to grow, and even though Kathie had not explicitly decided to begin a career in politics, she decided to let her new-found passion guide her towards a path that would enable her to keep working on them. This is what led her to run for City Council member and thus begin her career in politics.
Julia O’Hanlon helped make statewide news after leading an all-female, University of Texas (UT) Student Government executive alliance ticket (the Guneez & Hannah ticket featured by Lone Star Parity Project earlier this year). She served their team as the Campaign Manager, a role she had never filled before but was eager to jump into when she learned that the Guneez & Hannah team would focus their platform efforts on marginalized communities. What O’Hanlon didn’t know was that she would face off an opposing executive alliance ticket in three rounds of voting: one general election, one recall election, and one run off election. Although her team did not come out victorious, O’Hanlon has made strides towards a transformed UT campus after the Guneez & Hannah ticket faced racial and gender discrimination during the election cycles.
Student Government elections are taking place at the University of Texas at Austin this month. The President-Vice President candidate pair that has been making the most amount of noise on campus, and across the state, is that of Guneez Ibrahim and Hannah McMorris. This all-female leadership ticket has their sights set on bringing equality to marginalized communities, if elected. According to the campaign’s website, only 20% of the student body population actually participate in student government elections. Guneez & Hannah hope to connect with the communities that regularly do not vote and emphasize their opinions in future campus-wide decisions.