From Miss. Rhode Island to the National Guard and Beyond: Allie's Story

“I have wanted to run for Congress since I was fifteen years old,” Allie Curtis says. “I would talk about this in high school and people would look at me like I had three heads.”
With a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse, a Master of Public Affairs from Brown, and a second graduate degree in Homeland Security, Allie has also found time to manage campaigns, intern in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serve as Student Association President. For good measure, she was also Miss Rhode Island in 2015.

In spite of these accomplishments, even a woman like Allie can find it intimidating to pursue public office. That’s why she’s glad she found IGNITE.

Through IGNITE, Allie learned more about fundraising, issue-oriented advocacy, and social media strategy. She especially valued the training that IGNITE provided in media relations.

“IGNITE trains young women to present themselves in front of crowds and cameras and to speak about issues that matter. It’s so powerful to see yourself speak your beliefs and remain unshaken in that.”

As Allie remembers from those judgmental glances back in high school, female candidates often have to navigate double standards and the “likability” factor, which can dilute the more substantive messages they want to convey. But she refuses to back down. “You don’t need to be likable,” she says. “You need to be resolute in your core beliefs and stand strong.”

from miss rhode island to national guard and beyondAllie also values the different ideological perspectives she encounters through her relationships with IGNITE women—especially in today’s political climate. At IGNITE’s Young Women Run conference, Allie was excited to see ambitious young women from all walks of life and both sides of the political aisle making connections, despite their differences.

“We don’t have enough collaboration and partnership across the aisle. Organizations like IGNITE are changing that. We are working together as we move forward.

As Allie moves forward, she is keeping her eyes on her original goal: Congress. She currently serves in the Army National Guard as a Public Affairs Specialist, where she is gaining critical professional experience. A decade from now, she hopes to use that experience to serve her community as a member of Congress working on the Homeland Security and Armed Forces Committees. “Homeland security is at the forefront of our nation’s policy debates. This is something that I’ve been educated in and something that needs to change. This is why I feel fired up and ready to run for office.”

Allie is grateful to IGNITE for helping her feel ready. “IGNITE has really helped young women like me to be more comfortable with their ambition. They are changing the political future of our country, and changing the lives of everyday Americans.”

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