Liz Watson is a force of a woman. And I mean that literally: this woman never stops moving, thinking, doing. She’s a salt-of-the-earth, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, someone raised by generations of military veterans who taught her what “service to country” means and how it can define a family’s values through the generations. She is driven and passionate, and she’s running to represent Indiana’s 9th Congressional District this November.
Born in St. Louis, Liz’s family was hard-working, dedicated to giving back to the community, and avid watchers of both the news and basketball. They moved to Indiana when she was 8. Her father, who’d served in the Navy, went to Indiana University on the GI Bill. So the family put down roots and Liz grew up in a middle-class neighborhood attending great public schools. It was a great life, but she always saw the inequality and struggling communities that were just around the corner – people who worked hard and struggled to put food on the table, people in danger of losing their homes, families pushed to the edges of the community because the once-plenty jobs were drying up. The delineation between the “haves” and the “have-nots” imprinted itself on her thoughts of home and traveled with her as she started the next phase of her life.
Liz graduated from high school and went to Carlton College, where she majored in Political Science and worked as a waitress and, after graduating, a substitute teacher. She volunteered at a domestic violence shelter, manning the hotline or carrying the beeper, even riding along with the police on a call. She found a passion advocating for women living in dangerous situations or struggling to overcome inequality and took that fire to Georgetown Law School. Law school honed her skills to fight for women’s rights and safety in the home, in the workplace and the government. She worked for House Democrats in Congress on labor policy, seeing firsthand how the lack of women in government directly correlates to a lack of representation for their legislative interests. Yet, despite the dark and sometimes harrowing cases she took on or subjects she advocated against, Liz never lost her optimism. Her hopeful nature, one that looks past the bad and sees the potential for the good, is a significant impetus for her Congressional campaign.
That optimism is essential because, for years now, jobs have been disappearing from Liz’s community. GE. RCA. Otis Elevator. Gone. The remaining factory jobs paying the $7.75 minimum wage aren’t enough to help families stay afloat. The opioid crisis has hit Indiana hard, fueled by the soaring costs of health care and lack of insurance coverage and personal finances to treat an increasing number of ailments. The population is also aging, and that means fights over Medicare and the rising cost of nursing home stays. And on top of it all, the current Congressman is a guy originally from Tennessee who spent $4.5 million on his campaign and has repeatedly ignored the interests of the people of his District, especially the seniors who fought for this county and are now struggling to make ends meet as the benefits they worked hard to earn are being taken away. Many people would stand back, survey the landscape, and think, “Nope. Too much to do. It’s pretty hopeless.” Not Liz. She sees what’s going on and thinks, “I’m a mother. I’ve lived here for almost my whole life. I see what’s happening to women and families under our current Representative and Congress. I can do better.”
The future of our communities hinges on sending strong advocates to Congress who have the stamina to fight for what’s important. For Liz, a former endurance runner who doesn’t suffer obstacles or fools, that means taking the needs of her community to Capitol Hill and coming back with tools they can use to help themselves. In a time when we need more women on the ballot everywhere, especially here in Maryland where we don’t have any in play this November, Liz is an example of what it means to put your money where your mouth is, to go beyond talking about changing the way things are done and actually putting yourself out there to do it.
To learn more about Liz, her campaign, and what’s at stake for all of us this November, please visit lizforindiana.com, and remember to check your voter registration status and polling place so that you’re ready to make your mark on November 6th.