Lauren Necochea entered politics because she wanted to solve the problem she saw developing in society.
“I saw that the problems I wanted to solve in our country and state had to have systems solutions that required big public policy changes,” Necochea said.
At first, Necochea drifted toward non-profit work, coming to the Capitol building to educate on non-profit research and advocacy. However, she eventually became dissatisfied with the lack of progress and believed there needed to be a change as to who sat in the legislative seats.
“I didn’t gravitate towards politics and I think that it’s true for a lot of people,” Necochea said. “People see the conflicts and the divisiveness and get turned off.”
Necochea said one issue she is passionate about is helping kids get successful starts in life by helping to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and helping give parents living wages so they can provide for their children. However, Necochea said legislative progress in this area has been difficult due to the Republican super majority. However, that doesn’t mean the Democrats have no power.
“What’s most gratifying is when our critical votes as a small Democratic caucus save legislation that helps kids and families when that legislation otherwise would have died,” Necochea said. “We’re a small caucus, but the Idaho Republican Party is very much divided between the far, far right and the traditional but still quite conservative. The party as a whole has moved further and further right and so it often takes Democratic votes to make smart investments. There are times when our small pockets make the difference and it’s gonna make a tangible difference on kids and families.”
Necochea said that often her knowledge about policy is underestimated as a woman. She said it’s frustrating but she keeps demonstrating competence and preparedness to show the power of women in politics.
“Women who came before me blazed a trail for me,” Necochea said. “I recognized I’m not done. (I’m) blazing a trail for more women to come behind me because the legislature is still unbalanced. I get reminded daily when I’m in this building,”
One woman who inspires Necochea is Minority Leader Llana Rubel.
“She’s absolutely brilliant and never gives up,” Necochea said. “She outworks everyone else every day and inspires me to do better so that I can support her and help her stay in her role and help her keep going and fighting the good fight.”
Necochea encouraged women to pay attention to what is happening in politics and to get involved, even if it pushes them outside of their comfort zone.
“I would encourage any woman to give politics a second look if they aren’t thinking about it already,” Necochea said. “It’s easy to get turned off by using the word ‘politics,’ but this is where the decisions are being made. This is where hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars are flowing. They can go to common sense investments that are going to make our kids and families stronger and more prosperous in the long run or they can be squandered. Even if the idea of politics or running for office doesn’t sound appealing, everyone should be concerned with the results of our political process.”
To learn more about Representative Necochea, visit her website.