At NeW, we believe in supporting women in college, but also beyond in the workplace and as community leaders. Meet NeW alumna, Mehek Cooke, current candidate for Ohio State Representative. Mehek shares how NeW impacted her college experience and gives advice to NeW women today.
How has NeW impacted you?
I learned about NeW during a period of time when I was looking for a space to share my conservative views and empower others to do the same. I moved to Indiana to pursue a graduate and law degree and found out very quickly that as a conservative woman I was in the minority. I was silenced by teachers in classrooms for expressing my views, mocked by peers for my opinions and there were times I sat alone during lunch. No, I am not sharing my memory of what grade school politics looks like – this is what I experienced in graduate and law school.
NeW offered me the opportunity and space to share my views in a respectful but unapologetic manner, overcome challenges and encouraged me to step up as a leader in various volunteer and internship opportunities.
What is your favorite memory from your involvement with NeW?
My favorite memory occurred on a day steeped in political discussion in the heat of a presidential election. I was struggling to face significant adversity for my political and social views from my peers. That same day, the women in NeW reminded me to never compromise my integrity or beliefs. Their wisdom and strength reminded me to treat others with dignity even when they don’t afford you the same courtesy. The courage the women of NeW surrounded me with that day continues to be a source of strength I draw from daily.
What advice do you have for young conservative women?
I always tell women you get what you have the courage to seek. Don’t allow the status quo to define who you are as a conservative.
I can not tell you how many voters I met after announcing that I am running for State Representative in Ohio in 2020 tell me I do not look like a Republican because I am an Indian-born minority woman. It is time to break down the barriers and challenge the status quo. We do not all have to look alike to fight for what really matters – the American dream. I believe 2020 is a year for conservative women to step up, take on leadership roles and create the path to victory. And as a mentor recently told me – if you decide to run be all in – failure is not an option. This applies to any role you choose in life. You only get one life so make it count.