Councilwoman Kristin Stephens talks at first ASCSU Women’s Caucus event

Austin Fleskes

The newly formed Women’s Caucus at Colorado State University, part of the Associated Students of CSU, held its first official event Monday, hosting Fort Collin’s Councilwoman Kristin Stephens who talked about being a woman in a predominantly male career. 

Councilwoman speaks in ASCSU Senate Chambers
Councilwoman Kristin Stephens speaks to the Women’s Caucus about issues women face in government, and her own path to City Council. (Vinny Del Conte | Collegian)

Stephens has been a city councilmember for District 4 of Fort Collins since April 7, 2015, according to her biography on the City of Fort Collins Website. She originally ran in 2011 and lost against current Mayor Wade Troxell.

Ad

After losing in 2011, Stephens began to work on her campaigning skills so that she could run again and win. 

“I really wanted to serve my community, I really thought that I had a unique perspective to bring,” Stephens said.

Stephens raised $25,000 and talked to hundreds of people for her campaign. Stephens won by 140 votes and took her seat. 

“If I lost, it wasn’t because I didn’t try hard enough,” Stephens said. 

Stephens stated she felt that a lot of people did not expect her to win, even mentioning she had to reach out to the Coloradoan to give them her statement, as they were not present at her victory celebration. 

Stephens discussed what women looking to run for office could do to reach their goals, emphasizing the value of campaign training and surrounding themselves with those they trust. 

Stephens added she felt there can be a tendency for women not be listened to in positions of power, but with more women in student government they could be more protected. 

“I think there is sometimes a tendency not to listen to women. I’m not saying it happens all the time, I’m just saying that it sometimes happens,” Stephens said. “You guys can have each others’ back in student government.”

Stephens also took input from the audience about worries or questions they had for her as a woman in her position. 

Madison Taylor, an associate justice for the Supreme Court of ASCSU, said the ability for women to empower one another in this field was what she would takeaway from the talk.

Ad

“Women have different political opinions or different opinions on legislation we might have here, but we should empower each other just the same,” Taylor said. “I hope to see that we all really empower each other.”

woman speaks in ASCSU Senate Chambers
Creator of the Women’s Caucus Merall Sherif introduces Councilwoman Stephens on Monday March 5. (Vinny Del Conte | Collegian)

Merall Sherif, the creator of the Women’s Caucus, said the purpose of the event was to hear Stephens’ insight on getting elected into a male-dominated field, as well as being the only woman on Fort Collins City Council.

“Our purpose is to try and encourage as many women as possible to get excited about politics, representation and student government,” Sherif said, adding the event is also meant to encourage women to run in the upcoming ASCSU Elections. 

Sherif said seeing the caucus get to a point like this was like a dream for what she wants to see on campus. 

“It’s entirely humbling,” Sherif said. “I’m so grateful and so honored. It’s almost like a dream to me.”

The idea to bring Stephens to campus came from one of the provisional meetings held by the Women’s Caucus, and soon after the event was proposed, it was put into planning. 

“I am a firm believer of speaking things into existence, working them into fruition and seeing them manifest, and that’s what we did,” Sherif said. 

 

 

Stephens said she hopes those who attended the talk are empowered and excited.

“I hope they are excited about being women leaders. I hope they are ready to face the challenges that come with that,” Stephens said. “I want to make sure that they have a way to deal with any issues that come up because of the fact that they are women.”

Collegian reporter Austin Fleskes can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Austinfleskes07.