FEARLESS Females: Carlee Knot
Welcome to the FEARLESS Females series on KristinRaeRay.com! I am excited to be bringing you conversations with women who I’ve come across in my work, who are acting fearlessly in their lives. The first edition in the series will be Carlee Knott, a 27-year-old candidate for Michigan State Representative. This is NOT a political piece, so keep reading, even if we aren’t on the same page politically.
I opened the conversation with Carlee by asking her why run for office and why now? Her interest in politics stemmed mostly from her childhood. Carlee grew up in Holt, Michigan and has since cultivated a true passion for her native Greater Lansing community. As a longtime member of the Girl Scouts in childhood, a “value of community service” was instilled in her early. Similar to the community service that participating in Girls Scouts brought her, Carlee credits her parents with making generosity a core value, when she was growing up saying, “My parents give me the inspiration to be a kind human being every day.” As she grew older, Carlee’s love for giving back created an interest in community relations, helping her attain a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and later a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the University of Southern California.
After her educational career, Carlee worked in both partisan and nonpartisan positions within politics, where she focused on learning and understanding the legislative process. She’s “always been interested in how our government can be a tool to help the community and improve people's lives.” When I asked her if deciding to run for office was a fearful process, she introduced me to her thoughtful, analytical and logical approach to decision-making. Carlee definitely “didn’t take the decision to run for office lightly,” saying she had to really weigh the work she was doing in her role at the time, against her passion to “do more.” Ultimately though, it came down to her trusting her instincts, saying "I’m a pretty intuitive person and I’m in touch with my feelings.” To overcome the fear of the unknown, Carlee was able to mix her “rational and logical” side with the ability to “rely on how things felt.”
During my time with Carlee, I grew to really admire many things about her. One of the greatest sources of inspiration for me, however, was hearing how she is able to harness some of the fears she has like social anxiety, by acknowledging them and then choosing to work past them. She admits the world of politics isn’t necessarily “as she imagined it would be,” going on to say, she’s really had to begin ”worrying about [her] image and how [she’s] being portrayed in the public eye. “That's a big thing to handle every day - having your future rely on the public’s perception of you.” As someone who is naturally more of an introvert, engaging a room full of strangers at a community event is not her natural instinct. To overcome some of these anxieties, Carlee challenges herself to conjure the strength to push through the fearful moments in the name of achieving her goals.
What are those goals exactly? They go right back to service. Carlee feels this is the right time for her to run for political office because “we need leaders who are passionate about the issues and care about people.” With primary elections coming up on August 2nd, Carlee encourages voters to choose “courageous candidates who will fight for the issues you want.”
To find out more about Carlee Knott, log on vote4carleeknott.com.
To order Kristin's debut children's book, FEARLESS, click HERE