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A Cautionary Tale for the Newly Elected

By the end of her first term, Hawaii state Rep. Lauren Matsumoto was hospitalized for exhaustion from trying to "do it all."

Lauren Matsumoto
Hawaii state Rep. Lauren Matsumoto
(Facebook/Representative Lauren Kealohilani Matsumoto)
Getting elected isn't necessarily the hardest part about entering politics. For some, it's what happens once you're in office.

"There really isn’t a handbook on how to be effective in the legislature," says Hawaii state Rep. Lauren Matsumoto, who was elected at only 24 years old. "You almost have to be an expert in graphics and designing and mailing and newsletters and e-newsletters and social media, and recognizing that you now have thousands of people that you now have to communicate with. That was a really daunting task for me when I first got elected."

By the end of her first term, Matsumoto was hospitalized for two weeks from burnout and exhaustion from trying to "do it all." 

On our season finale of "The 23 Percent: Conversations With Women in Government," Matsumoto talks about the hurdles facing newly elected officials, how they can avoid the mistakes she says she made, and the advice she would give women thinking about running for office.

Before becoming a state legislator, Matsumoto -- who now sits on the board of directors of a bipartisan organization dedicated to mentoring female elected officials -- competed in beauty pageants, an experience that sparked an interest in and helped prepare her for public service. She competed four times before getting crowned Miss Hawaii in 2011.

"To all of the women thinking of running for office," she says, "if you lose the first time, run again. And even if you lose the third time, run again."

Listen to her interview below or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Stitcher.



The 23% is brought to you by Governing's Women in Government Leadership program and its sponsors.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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