INNOVATE2016: Candidate Erin Schrode harnesses tech and positivity for a new political generation

Enough pessimism. Even in politics, we have reason to be cheerful. Take, for example, Erin Schrode, a 25-year-old woman who ran for U.S. Congress in California’s District 2 in Marin County.

Seeing herself as a “tech candidate”, this self-styled “rabble rousing optimist” believes we are just at the “dawn of the revolution” when it comes to political innovation.

Schrode’s campaign to become the youngest representative in Congress really caught fire on social media. Over the memorial day weekend, for example, she hosted a day-long “Snapchat takeover” for the account @WomenInPolitics.

A soldier stationed in Korea was so moved by her message and responded in a series of seven, 10-second videos. And Schrode’s response was recorded and shared via Facebook Live to her 14,000 followers.

Yes, she acknowledges, the 2016 election is “poisonous” and “crippling”. But that’s no reason to stay out of politics.

Indeed, in contrast with many other entrepreneurial types of her generation, Schrode is committed to a career of public service.

“I just can’t stand by and watch anymore,” she says. Focusing her campaign on public health, human rights, environmentalism and tech innovation, @erinschrode () built an innovative campaign on digital media platforms like Medium, Instagram and Snapchat.

As always, thanks to the folks at CALinnovates for their help in the production of this interview.