Meet the 35-Year Old Woman Who Wants to Be Vice President
On Thursday, Mindy Finn — the 35-year-old mother of two and founder and president of Empowered Women — added another line to her already impressive resume: Vice presidential candidate.
After a meeting in a midtown Manhattan hotel, Evan McMullin, who is running for president as an Independent, tapped Finn, who had been a vocal member of the conservative #NeverTrump movement, to be his running-mate.
We talked to Finn about joining the ranks of Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin — and everything from why she’s running to just what message she hopes to send to other women with her admittedly long-shot bid.
GLAMOUR: Why are you running?
MINDY FINN: I think that it’s time for a new generation of leadership. It’s been demonstrated in this election cycle with two choices that more than half the country is deeply dissatisfied with, and really seeking and hungry for a ticket they can vote for and be proud of.
GLAMOUR: And what makes you specifically qualified to run?
MF: To be clear, there are millions in this country of people who bring a lot of qualifications to the table, but I feel that there’s an opportunity to be a voice for those people — as somebody who has been a small business owner, who’s worked in the tech community, who is a mother of two small children, but also has experience in the public policy arena. I feel that along with Evan on the ticket, I’m really in touch with the concerns of average Americans because I’ve been one. I’ve just been fortunate to be in a position where I’m plugged into the mechanism to run for the vice presidency.
GLAMOUR: Do you think your gender is an advantage or hindrance in your running, or does it play no role at all?
MF: I think it’s an advantage. I think it’s important. There’s a reason that so many Americans feel that their voice is not represented. They feel that the current institutions of Washington are failing them and I think those institutions are stronger when there’s diversity, and so having a variety of perspectives and voices — our ticket really represents the variety of voices, and the diversity of voices and perspectives.
GLAMOUR: And is your age an advantage or hindrance?
MF: Regardless of age, the temperament is what we would be looking at — somebody who is forthright with the American people, somebody who is kind, who has intellectual curiosity, and a capability for learning and making smart decisions, somebody that takes all the information into account in a thoughtful way. That’s most important. There are people running this year who are in their 60s and 70s and don’t meet that test.
I think that’s more important than age. I also think there’s an advantage to age. Some of the greatest innovations in the world have been invented by people in their 30s. I think we can be a model, both Evan and myself, of being of that generation. We are the future, and we hope to be rather than taking us back to a lot of the old ideas, which is what you see from the other two candidates. We believe America is strong and we want to make it stronger.
GLAMOUR: How does the McMullin-Finn ticket differ from the Trump-Pence ticket?
MF: First of all, we believe strongly that what makes American special and America strong is our commitment to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The liberty component is really critical there. We have someone in Donald Trump who has tried to limit free speech. He has talked of admiring murderous dictators and tyrants. That’s one major area we’re different. Also rhetorically. We believe that everybody is equal and valuable in this country. We welcome immigrants, we celebrate that we are a country of immigrants and a melting pot, and we think three’s no place in the political arena for racism, sexism and bigotry.”
GLAMOUR: Are there any issues that face women specifically that are not being addressed by more mainstream candidates, and why those issues are important to you?
MF: I think the fact that our economy has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. It’s a new economy that has really left some people behind but it has also leveled the playing field in way that has really provided access to women and people of every color, race, and creed to participate and thrive. So while that’s not explicitly a women’s issue, what it highlights is that women have more opportunities than they’ve ever had in this country. And we have a positive vision to say: How do we put policies in place that allow us to flourish and grow?
GLAMOUR: What’s is your stance on women’s issues like equal pay and family leave, and when will your ticket announce specific policy?
MF: Something I really bring to this ticket is background experience on issues like pay and family leave. Having just joined the ticket, we'll be working on those in the coming days, but don’t have detailed policy plans on that yet. We both believe that what’s key to our campaign — and it might sound cheesy — is the pursuit of happiness component, and having that at the core of our policy ideas. So when it comes to something like pay or family leave, we want to look at the economics, certainly, but also with an understanding of what people actually want and how people live their day-to-day lives.
That means plans that are flexible enough for everybody to find something that works for them. Our concerns from some of the policies that would come from Hillary Clinton on the left is they’re too one size fits all. They come from the federal government. We take the approach that these things are better handled at the state level and that at the state level they’re more likely to be closer to what people want, and they’re more likely to avoid bloat.
GLAMOUR: And on reproductive rights?
MF: Both Evan and myself are pro-life.
GLAMOUR: You are the founder of a feminist organization. What does feminism actually mean to you?
MF: Feminism means that we all seek to live fulfilled lives, whatever that means for each of us, and we should have the equal ability to do that. Nothing should limit us simply because we’re women.
GLAMOUR: Why do you think Donald Trump is the wrong choice for conservative women?
MF: I think Trump, in addition to his policies that I think are dangerous for the country at large, it has been clear throughout Trump's campaign that he views women as lesser than. He’s objectified them throughout his life and continued to do so in his campaign, and seems to be very threatened by smart, successful, powerful women, and that is anathema to who we are as Americans.
The view I take is that while I’m proud to live in a free and prosperous country, I do believe American is a special land and should be a beacon to the world. And part of that leadership is that women are equal under the law and I do have concerns in how Trump talks about and treats women. I think it’s very clear in his rhetoric that he sees them as second class citizens.
GLAMOUR: You and Evan are a long shot ticket. Are you simply running to make a point and if so, what point?
MF: There is a couple pronged strategy. If Evan and our ticket were to win a state, for example, and either of the major parties failed to get to 270 electoral votes, it would go to the House. So recognizing it’s a long shot, there is that possibly. But secondarily, it’s clear to me there is huge movement behind this ticket, that we are a glimmer of light in what many have seen as a sea of darkness in this election.
They’re so hungry, not just for an alternative but for a ticket they can feel proud to vote for. That is the secondary goal and that movement is going to be really important not just between now and November, but in the years ahead. What’s happening right now with these kind of anger and fear-driven populous movements that’s fueling Donald trump is there’s also a bit of a counter movement, which is really how we see ourselves. We really believe that the work we’re doing is still vitally important to combat the fear-mongering and hate that’s coming from portions of the Donald Trump electorate.
GLAMOUR: To that end, what lesson do you want other women to take away from your long-shot bid?
MF: Sometimes you have to fail to move forward, so failing is part of the process. You can't be afraid to fail. You have to know that your voice matters. That’s what I hope women get out of it. It’s important to be in the movement. We’re fortunate to live in a country where we’re free to speak our minds, to criticize every figure from president on down, and so your voice matters.
More From Glamour:
• Four Women Politicians Get Real About Sexism, Diversity, and Running for Congress
• 25-Year-Old Erin Schrode Wants to Become the Youngest Woman Elected to Congress
• Hillary Clinton Takes Your Questions
• Why Do Women Support Trump? 12 of His Supporters Explain
Photo Credit: Getty Images