Betsy Fogle’s Tips for Staying Motivated and Honing Your Goals

On November 4, 31-year-old Betsy Fogle flipped House District 135. Here are her tips for avoiding burnout, finding inspiration and remaining focused.

By Jenna deJong

Dec 08 2020 at 8 a.m.

Besty Fogle
Photo by Claude ShulerBesty Fogle meets with constituents while on the campaign trail prior to the November 4, 2020 election.

Betsy Fogle is a Springfield-native who has lived in southwest Missouri nearly all her life. She attended Springfield Public Schools before moving on to Missouri State University. Her only time living away from home was when she was completing her master's program at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Fogle's got a heart for the region and she decided to run for office as a way to give back to the place she loves most. "A lot of my closest friends that went through [Springfield Public Schools] with me went elsewhere for college and are raising their families or working in other parts of the United States, but I always knew I wanted to stay here in Springfield and make a change in the community that gave me everything that I have," Fogle says. Now she's on to her next stage in life: holding public office and representing House District 135. 

Biz: Why did you decide you wanted to run for public office?
My background is in public health and I’ve spent the last six years working at Jordan Valley Community Health Center, which is a federally qualified health center here in Springfield. We serve residents of southwest Missouri and I love what I do professionally so much. I love connecting neighbors with health care, with medical, dental, behavioral health services. The first few years of my career I operated as a social worker in the clinic and I did a lot of insurance applications and helped with food insecurity and housing insecurity. Moving forward into my career, I’ve had the opportunity to now serve in an administrative and leadership capacity. Having that fundamental understanding of how public policy or the decisions we make in Jefferson City impact the people that I was trying to serve at the community level is kind of what started my mind going on public policy and how I could help shape it. I didn’t ever really see myself running for office or being the face of a campaign. [I] always thought I’d help support more in policy crafting or legislation crafting. But a year and a half ago, representative Crystal Quade took me out for coffee and asked if I had ever considered running. She thought I’d be a good fit for the 135th district and as all of us do when the community asks us to do something or when there’s a need, we jump in and do our best to fill it. That’s what led me to run for office.

Biz: Sometimes it’s tough to keep burnout at bay. What tips or advice would you give for staying motivated?
The reason I’ve been able to keep going and have such a successful year is that I am intentional about what I say yes to. It is impossible to say yes to everything and I think we as women have this [habit] of always wanting to do more and make a bigger impact in our community. We innately just want to serve those around us. If we said yes to every opportunity, that would be very hard to do, but I’ve been very intentional about saying yes to the opportunities that I know will bring me joy and bring me passion. I think if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, that can carry you through the darkest days. As you can imagine running a campaign at times is difficult. It’s not always easy. You turn on the TV and you see bad things about yourself and it’s not always an easy path but what kept me going on those tough days is that I knew what I was doing would make our community better. At the end of the day that’s the only thing that matters. 

Biz: When others have differing points of view or opinions, how do you continue to listen and collaborate, even in difficult situations?
I would like to say that it’s always easy to do so but the fact of the matter is that it’s not. [In] the last four years, especially at the national level, we have seen so much polarization between the two major political parties that sometimes it’s hard to reach across the aisle and meet somebody where they are. But my campaign and what I’ve been able to accomplish here in [District] 135, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish if I hadn’t met some of those individuals who historically voted a different way and brought them over into my campaign and my camp. I think we need to do a better job, all of us, as elected officials, as citizens of Missouri and of the United States, of listening and asking questions and understanding where people are coming from. Of course, there will be times when I sit down with somebody and I’m not going to agree with them on anything. But what I found on the campaign trail is a lot of people share the values that I share. We want strong schools for our children, we want a safe workforce, we want health care, we want our neighbors to be healthy. If we can focus on those things in the middle and not let ourselves be caught up in the polarizing issues, I think we all win. 

Biz: What advice do you have for other women looking to hold public office?
When I decided to run for office, I had no idea I was going to be successful. I really thought that I’d be able to run for office and work really hard and do my part to change the culture and change the narrative down here in Springfield and to show other women we can do this. Oftentimes as women, we wait until we’re asked to do something and when we’re asked, we look at all of the reasons why we shouldn’t. I did the same thing. When I was asked to run for office, I thought, ‘What would my friends say, what would my family say? Do I have time? Will I be good enough? Will I be able to make the change?’ Those are important and valuable questions but we need to trust ourselves that we can jump in and do it. I have no superhero power. I am just a person filled with passion and a love for my community. When there are opportunities to run for office or PTA president or school board or whatever the office is or position is, if you’re coming at it from a good perspective and a genuine desire to change, my advice would be to jump in and do it. Build a community of people around you who love you and support you and work really, really hard. I think it will pay off regardless if you win or lose.

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