Tammy Nichols’ introduction into politics was a slow burn. She began getting involved with education issues when her kids were in school.
“The more I became involved with that area, it led me into seeking out my legislative representatives first and that worked very well in getting responses back,” Nichols said. “I reached out to a broader group of legislators in the Senate that would speak with me, started going down to the Capitol on education, legislation. Then we formed a little group of parents and we started reading bills and then writing bills.”
Nichols said this grassroots involvement pushed her to run for office after those she worked with said she might be good at it.
One of Nichols’ goals as a senator is to help connect people back to the government and help them get involved.
“One of my huge things that I’ve wanted to do and I’ve promoted throughout my time in the legislature is really connecting the people back to the government,” Nichols said. “We have a democracy that’s by, of and for the people. When people aren’t part of that process. It doesn’t function correctly.”
Many of the bills Nichols has introduced have originated from constituents. Nichols said she is there to help constituents through each step of the legislative process.
“It’s very important for people to understand that process and be involved,” Nichols said. “The best way to do that is by going through that process. That’s the best way you learn. It’s going through that process.”
Nichols said politics and government are like a game.
“There are all sorts of players,” Nichols said. “There are different objectives that you’re trying to accomplish, but if you don’t know their roles, you can’t play that game effectively. It’s so important for people to understand how their government works so that they can maneuver it correctly because the government isn’t a person. It’s not a tangible person. In order to understand it, you have to understand the rules.”
Over the last few years, Nichols noticed that more women have been getting involved in politics and government in many areas, including school boards, city councils and state legislatures.
Nichols said Women’s history month, March, highlighted the progress women have made.
“I think men are great and they are wonderful, but it’s nice also to see the women’s perspective being brought up,” Nichols said. “Women are making leaps and bounds in different ways now, and we have been over the last several years. It’s an important month just to remember that we’re all unique, but we all bring something to the table and women are part of that process.”
Nichols recommended for anyone who feels the inclination to get involved and run for political office to do so. Nichols said there’s a spot for everyone.
“Really be thoughtful about it, be prayerful about it,” Nichols said. “It’s not easy. It’s not an easy process and even the election process is not an easy process. It’s a lot of time and work and you sacrifice. You miss out on some things that may be very important to you, but it can be done. We have one legislator that has 10 kids and she’s made it work. It’s really a beautiful process to watch and it’s very satisfying to me to watch, especially (for) women (who) get into politics and watch them grow and watch their experience. You’ll have women that might be a little bit more timid or more soft-spoken and then as things progress as they get more comfortable.”
To learn more about Senator Nichols, visit her website.