While I do believe the general state of American society right now is one of apathy, there are wonderful, shining points of light scattered in the darkness reminding us that hope is never lost. One of them is my friend Leah Bradley, who decided to, in her own words, “stop running from something and start running for something.”

Leah has had a rough few months in her personal life, but she’s found a way to reinvent herself by filing to run for Magistrate of District 7 in Oldham County, in her home city of Louisville, Kentucky. Leah is a natural leader, an upcycler whose nature is to see the potential in any thing and any one, and as I already knew, and the last few months have confirmed, one of the strongest women I’ve known. All these traits make her a great choice for public office, and I’m excited to see her in this new role.

Leah’s choice to run for office almost defies logic when considered against everything I’ve written about the last couple days. Ultimately, what power does one person in one county of one state have to change things? Well, it turns out a lot. Simply by running against an established tradition of Republican male candidates, one Democrat woman is making a statement that things can be different. If she wins, she represents a different demographic with interests and concerns that were probably not represented before. If she doesn’t win, she still made the statement that there are options for voters, perhaps inspiring others to give it a shot at the next election.

When Obama was first elected President in 2008 I sat home watching the election coverage, the swearing-in ceremony, the elation rampant in this country (even Republican friends and family-members celebrated the momentousness of that occasion) and I was inspired. At that moment I truly believed that anybody could run for public office, that anyone could change the world, and I wondered what it would take to run for office myself. Obviously I didn’t do anything about that, and to be honest the last nine years I have become increasingly jaded about the political process in the US. My nature, however, is to be an idealist optimist, so people like Leah taking that leap of faith and going for the opportunity to truly effect change tug at my heartstrings and make me hopeful.

I don’t live in Kentucky, so it’s not like I’ll be able to vote for Leah, but I nevertheless stand and salute her spirit and gumption in running for public office. She’s proof that there is still hope for America.