Meet Local Leader Molly Cowan of Exeter

Here on the Stay Work Play NH blog, we’re celebrating young leaders all over the state — and we have a lot to celebrate! Last fall, New Hampshire saw a boost in young people taking office at the state level. In fact, 42 of our representatives are under 40 years old. You’ll get to meet all of them on this space, but we also want to shine a spotlight on the young people leading their communities at the local level!

Meet Molly Cowan!

Exeter resident and busy working mom of two boys, Molly serves as the Vice Chair of the Exeter Select Board. Molly has worked in public service for many years, serving as the campaign manager for Maggie Hassan and the Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, among other roles, before moving into her current job at Emily’s List, an organization that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.

Tell us about your “Path to Politics” — what made you decide to get involved?

I decided to run for local office because it’s one of the most direct and effective ways to impact people’s lives. People often think that in order to make a difference, you have to go to Washington, but really, the issues that impact most people’s day to day lives are decided at the local level. I love my neighbors and I love my town, and I’m honored to serve each and every day. Too often, when people think about running for office, they think they need a lot of money or to have lived in a town forever, or to know everyone in order to win. That’s not the case, and with the same people sitting around the table, we don’t see the kind of progress NH needs.

What’s the number one thing you hope to accomplish while in office?

To make trade careers desirable. Do you know how much job security there is in being a plumber or an HVAC technician or a mechanic? The average age for these jobs in most of NH is nearing retirement age. And there are always going to be leaky toilets.

What advice would you give to another young person interested in getting involved in local politics in NH?

The best way to learn about politics is to get involved – volunteer on a campaign, volunteer with an issue organization, show up to vote (in every election), and get to know your US, state, and local representatives. The best piece of advice is to know the process. Once you understand the process, you will be able to rule the world. (Study and memorize Rob’s Rules of Order. You will feel comfortable in every setting.) Keep a really accurate and complete Rolodex. This will help with every level of race.

What advice do you have for citizen advocates?

It’s the same for people who want to run – volunteer on campaigns, with issue organizations, and, above all, just show up! No matter what someone’s experience is, there is work to do on a campaign!

Finally, just for fun, tell us something about yourself that will surprise people.

You mean besides that I give advice to learn Robert’s Rules of Order? I also love really hoppy beer (try Concord Craft Brewing‘s “When Rhino’s Fly”, if you want to try my current favorite). I also have a goal to cook 50 new recipes each year. Current to date is 25, so I’m on track for a successful 2019.

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