In the play “Grace for President,” third-grader Grace has a stark realization: There have been no female presidents of the United States. She decides to run for student president and, maybe one day, President of the United States.

This weekend, my daughter and I saw the Raleigh Little Theatre’s exuberant production of “Grace for President.” Afterward, actor TaMya Bland interviewed Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes about her leadership.

Commissioner Holmes and I attend many of the same community events, and recently she invited me to speak to her Law and Social Work class at NC State University.

Holmes is a fantastic example of an advocate. She advocates for safe, affordable housing for everyone and access to recovery from substance use disorder. She also advocates for a quality education for every child; she even brought some copies of the book “Grace for President” to give out.

Here are some of the highlights from Bland’s interview with Holmes:

Bland: What is your favorite part of your job as a commissioner?

Holmes: I love helping people and focusing on solutions. As a commissioner, I am one of seven people who get to decide together how we can use the county’s budget to make life better for everyone in our county.

B: How did you decide to run for office?

H: I was approached to run for office, but I didn’t think that I had enough accomplishments, just like Grace felt in the play. Someone had to tell me, “Jessica, you have many accomplishments. Jessica, you have something to say. Jessica, you have a voice.”

B: What was your favorite part of the play?

H: I liked when Grace asked herself the question “Why not me?” She realized that she could be a leader.

B: What makes you brilliant?

H: On the Commission, something that makes me brilliant is that I am a woman. I am the only woman at the board table. So I am the person who brings that perspective to the table. To me, that is very important.

B: What advice would you give to someone who wants to run for office?

H: If you want to do this job, do it because you want to help people. If other people see that you are running because you want to help people, they will want to vote for you!

I hope you are as inspired as I was both by the play and by Holmes. Contact us if you are ready to begin your journey of self-advocacy.