September 26, 2011

Bryant to discuss what she’s learned in politics

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Not all of the important political issues will end up on national network television and become hot-button topics on talk radio.  And running for national or statewide office is also not generally the first foray into politics for most political hopefuls.

Terri Bryant, a precinct committeewoman and secretary of the Jackson County Republican Central Committee, will talk about entry-level politics and how to become involved later this week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.  Bryant will discuss “Lessons Learned: Running for Office from a Woman’s Perspective,” Thursday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m., in the Institute Lobby, 1231 Lincoln Drive, in the Forestry Building.

The presentation is part of the Institute’s “Women in Politics” series.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the “Pizza and Politics” session with Terri Bryant.  For more information, contact Matt Baughman, associate director, at 618/453-4009, or 618-201-0082.

“Political careers start at the grass roots and Terri is a grassroots Southern Illinois Republican,” said David Yepsen, Institute director, noting Bryant will offer suggestions on what to do, who to see, networking, building a base of support, and volunteering for campaigns.

“Former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said ‘all politics is local,’ and Terri’s session will focus on that,” Yepsen said.  “I’m often asked by people how to get started in politics and this session will help people do that.  A lot of the activism in American politics these days come from conservative women who are active in the Tea Party and in other conservative organizations.”

Yepsen noted that Bryant’s lessons can be useful to people who identify themselves as Democrats, Green Party supporters, and independents, as well.

The event is free, but Institute officials encourage registration.  To register, contact Institute project coordinator Christina Rich at 618/453-4078 or by email at

Bryant’s political experience includes working on campaigns of several candidates, and she has also sought a seat on the Jackson County Board.  Bryant, who lives in Murphysboro, has been a Republican precinct committeewoman in Jackson County since 2006.  In 2008, she was a delegate to the Illinois Republican Convention, and a John McCain presidential elector at the state convention.

Bryant said she became involved because of a desire to “contribute to honest and equitable government.”

“I am greatly disturbed when qualified concerned citizens say they do not want to be involved in politics because all politicians are crooked and out for themselves,” she said. 

Bryant will discuss the need to “put actions into words.”

“If one is passionate about good government and believes they are someone who can help to achieve that, then they must step into the arena,” she said.  “It is my hope that each person would run for the office that has the issues they are most passionate about without regard to whether or not the polls show they can win.”

Bryant said she was told she couldn’t win a county board seat as a Republican because of the way the district is drawn, and was advised to move into another district, run as an independent, or run for a different office.  Bryant said she disagreed because she believes “you run to serve.”

“I wanted to serve where I live in the office that had the issues I wanted addressed,” she said.  “I learned that one does not have to win to get your message heard.  I know for sure that if all you do is sit at home and complain not only will you not win but neither will your issues be heard.”

Among her many activities, Bryant is president of the Illinois Lincoln Excellence in Public Service Series, whose mission is “to increase the number of Illinois Republican women in elected and appointed governmental and political positions at the local, state and federal levels,” according to the organization’s website.

Bryant works for the Illinois Department of Corrections where she is the dietary manager for both the Pinckneyville Correctional Center and the Du Quoin Impact Incarceration Program.  She is also an internal and external auditor for the state agency, and is a steward and member of the executive board of the ISEA/Laborers Local 2002.

For more information on the program, contact the Institute at 618/453-4009 or visit