Get to Know the 24%: Representative Victoria Steele
A Woman With A Vision
Representative Victoria Steele has represented the state of Arizona’s 9th district since 2013 and has been overcoming triumphs left and right from the very beginning. As a sixteen-year-old girl, Representative Steele revealed she was bullied in high school by a group of girls. “At one point it got so bad, I decided to fight back,” she explained. It was then, when the girls had all landed themselves in the principal’s office, that everything changed. She noticed a ‘Run for Student Council’ poster and, as an alternative to detention, decided to participate. “If you bring people together, you can fight the bullies and you can get things done,” she told me. This is what Representative Steele did--she and the ladies who bullied her helped her win the election by helping her campaign. Even at a young age, Representative Steele knew that building relationships was key to success and it has made her into the legislator she is today.
Before running for the Arizona state legislature, Representative Steele was a television and radio news anchor for 25 years and is also a Licensed Professional Counselor, which she still does through a private practice when not in legislative session. When asked why she ran for office initially, she brought up her background in counseling. The communication skills and relationship building skills she attained in this profession helped her to empower people. When she realized she could and wanted to empower people on a broader level, she ran for office. While nervous at first, she knew she had to take advantage of this opportunity, saying, “If I don’t do this and I know that I can then I’m just taking up space on the planet.” Representative Steele believes in fighting for values we hold dear and building trust, even when we disagree. This has been an especially important value for her because Arizona has been an unbalanced state since she was elected. Still, she was able to pass numerous bills, unanimously, by building relationships and working together.
Representative Steele has received a stream of comments in the past about women’s issues being all she cares about, because she is a woman, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. She believes all issues are problematic and need to be addressed but also believes that, “when women do well, America does well.” This, she has witness numerous times in many different ways, one of those ways being through Women in Government. She revealed that at first, she didn’t know much about the organization, but was invited by another legislator. She was pleasantly surprised at the quality of presentations and relationships she made. Representative Steele was a mentor to me at one of the WIG conferences, so I know firsthand what a tremendous leader lives in her. She says, “I have been mentored by so many wonderful women and I try to return that favor.” She does, and she does it well.
About the Author
Cristin Espinoza completed the Future Women in Government Program at the Western Regional Conference in May, 2015. She is a sophomore at the University of Denver, double majoring in political science and public policy and minoring in Spanish. Prior to completing the Future Women in Government program, Cristin interned at the Colorado State Capitol as well as worked as an advocate for Work for Progress.
About Future WIG
Women In Government supports women of all ages in leadership roles, and is working hard to ensure that young women are given the resources and mentorship they need in order to achieve their goals. This program takes place at WIG Regional conferences, where WIG asks women state legislators and leaders in the private sector to encourage young women across the country to pursue leadership roles. This program is made possible by Southwest Airlines.