College is hard enough, but imagine leading a campaign on top of it.
Emilie Tindle, 24, is running for office in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives District 11 while continuing her studies as a sophomore history major at Oklahoma State.
Keeping up with school and a demanding campaign is a balancing act for Tindle. Every week, she goes to class, and after class, she makes the hour and a half commute to Collinsville, Oklahoma. From there, she knocks on doors for two to three hours some days and six to seven hours on other days. Walking from door to door, speaking to voter to voter, listening to each of their stories.
It’s all about stories, Tindle said. You can see this value in the major she chose and how she holds herself as a politician.
“The beauty of thinking as a historian is the mindset of looking for whose story hasn’t been told,” Tindle said. “And where do we need to bridge the gap, and who's missing from the narrative.”
Tindle is the first Democrat to run for this seat since 2004 and the first woman to run since 1994. For her, running as a Democrat is not about picking a side in this divided nation; it’s about representing the voices who have been unheard for far too long.
At each door who welcomes her, Tindle asks voters what their concerns are with the state. What she has learned is people are concerned about their kids.
During this campaign, Tindle has focused on three issues with ideas for reform: education, healthcare and economic development. Even though Tindle is running as a Democrat, she has no interest in choosing policy based on party lines. What matters is good policy, not partisan policy, Tindle said.
“Everyone should have the same opportunity to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Tindle said. “We owe everyone these rights and the respect towards those rights.”
Tindle’s campaign manager, Tasneem Al-Micheal, is a student who attends the University of Oklahoma. The two met through the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature, or O.I.L.
Since the day they met, Al-Micheal knew he would manage Tindle’s campaign. In fact, he was the first to confirm Tindle’s thoughts about running by telling Tindle “you should run” during a conversation at an O.I.L competition.
Al-Micheal is well-versed in running campaigns, and Tindle is not his first client. But even still, Tindle’s character is unlike anyone he’s ever worked with.
“[Tindle is] the most caring, hardest working and most thorough person I’ve ever met,” Al-Micheal said. “If you want someone who puts the needs of the people first, someone you can trust, who’s knowledgeable and researches her answers, is passionate and honest - I’ve never met someone as willing to go the distance.”
Election day is Nov. 3, but the Tindle campaign still has a long road ahead of them.
Until then, Tindle plans to do what she’s always done: work hard. And there are no signs she will slow down anytime soon.