At only 23 years old, Jennifer Sullivan just won her election and became the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida legislature. Jennifer’s fresh face will join the Florida House of Representatives in January.
Jennifer won the Florida House District 31 seat, despite being criticized and outspent by the opposition. Opponents ran ads critiquing her for being “too young” and “lacking experience.” She also recalls being outspent by 2-1 or 3-1 depending on the candidate, but that wasn’t enough to stop Jennifer Sullivan.
“Part of that was really just putting myself out there, and doing the hard work of making those cold calls, being willing to sit down and call people to ask for money,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer was motivated to run for office because she couldn’t sit back and watch the country fall apart any longer.
“I mean I was working, and I’m paying taxes. I’m affected by local, state, and national policies. I think that oftentimes people don’t realize how much it really does affect them,” Jennifer said
In November 2013, Jennifer attended the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School in Winter Park, FL.
“LI was helpful in giving me a sense of where to go, and making opportunities readily available for training. You’re going to walk away with information that you haven’t gotten anywhere else,” she said.
At LI’s Youth Leadership School Jennifer learned that a large part of running a successful campaign requires building relationships.
“If you are willing to serve people and work hard there should be no ceiling to what you can accomplish for your community and for your state,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer also learned the importance of sticking to a “plan to victory.” Before she even filed, Jennifer wrote out her campaign plan. Some changes were needed here or there, but Jennifer and her team stayed faithful to their core victory plan.
“We knew at the end of the day exactly what we needed to do,” said Jennifer, “and we had a plan to accomplish it. It would only be a matter of working hard.”
Jennifer was born and raised in Central Florida. She began getting involved in politics at 14 years old, and she participated in extra-curricular programs like 4H and Girl’s State.
When asked if she had any tips for young activists looking to run for office, Jennifer simply replied, “There are enough people that are in it for the power. We need to get people that are principled and conservative that are going to be in it for the people; because that is the only way we are going to get our country back on track.”
Jennifer has served at the national headquarters for TeenPact Leadership Schools, the organization responsible for introducing her to the Leadership Institute. She is also a member of the Lake County Republican Executive Committee.
Please join LI in congratulating Jennifer Sullivan for receiving LI’s Conservative Leader Award, and in wishing her the best of luck as she serves District 31 in the Florida House of Representatives.
To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Digital Media Manager Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org.
The Leadership Institute offers over 43 types of training programs, working with more than 1,386 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute’s 1979 founding, more than 150,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org