Meet the Candidate: Assembly Woman Cottie Petrie-Norris

This week we invite you to meet one of our endorsed candidates, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. 

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris represents California’s 74th Assembly District – Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, and portions of Irvine & Huntington Beach.

Cottie Petrie-Norris is a businesswoman and community leader who ran for State Assembly in 2018. In her first term, she has secured millions of dollars in funding for projects in her district and introduced important legislation to combat sea level rise, improve services for veterans and help small businesses.


What inspired you to run for office yourself?

For so many of us, the 2016 election was a turning point. We woke up on November 8, 2016 thinking we were going to elect our first woman president – and went to bed realizing that we had elected an unrepentant misogynist instead.

Like so many of you, that was a huge wake up call for me. And the silver lining in the very dark cloud that is Trump’s election has been the wake up call to women all across this country. From the Virginia suburbs to the coast of Southern California.

Wake up. Raise your voice. Be the change you want to see. 

 And all across the country, women are heeding this call. We are organizing, we are running... and we are winning. 

I replaced a far-right, anti-choice, anti-science man who had failed to deliver for our community. During my first year in office, I authored eleven pieces of legislation that were signed by the governor, including bills which combat sea-level rise, increase access to women’s healthcare and encourage civic engagement on college campuses. 

What advice would you give a young woman interested in politics?

Do it! Trust that little voice deep inside of your heart that is telling you “Yes.” Yes, you are qualified. Yes, you can do this. Yes, you can win. 

When I decided to run for this seat, it seemed completely impossible. I was a first-time candidate, running against an anti-choice Republican incumbent in a district where I had a 7% point registration disadvantage. None of the political experts thought I could win, none of the pundits thought it was possible. 

But I saw the gap - and I had terrific supporters who rallied around me. They sat with me at my kitchen table as we put together a campaign, they knocked on doors with me as we built our grassroots outreach, they fought for me every step of the way. And, together, we made this possible. 


What’s your favorite women empowerment quote?

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” - Angela Davis


Why is women in political leadership important to you? 

Only 166 women have ever served in the California Legislature, compared to 4,238 men. What?! 

Right now in California, there are 37 women serving in our 120 member Legislature, an all time high. Getting that to 50% is about representative government. And it’s bigger than that. Because studies around the world have shown that when a critical mass of women make up a legislative body, priorities shift. We spend more money on education, on healthcare, on elder care – the very priorities that are so important to us.

We need more women at every level of government. Period.


What are some traits you think great leaders possess?

Collaborative - no one has all the answers, different perspectives make better solutions

Decisive - it is important to set a clear course and once you do, no waffling 

Strong Communicator - it is so easy for things to get lost in translation, good leaders make sure that doesn’t happen 


What is one leadership lesson you’ve learned from your personal life?

I have learned perspective. 

6 years ago, at the age of 65, my mom had a tragic accident and in the blink of an eye she was a quadriplegic. Two years later, she left us. It was heartbreaking - in many ways I am still trying to make sense of it and I miss her every day. But it certainly taught me about what is important, and what is not. And it taught me to treasure every moment. 


How can Run Women Run members support your campaign?Our nation is facing the harsh realities of COVID-19 and my top priority at this moment is helping constituents through this unprecedented and difficult time. With this in mind, my campaign is contacting and checking-in on the most vulnerable in our district-- our seniors. We welcome anyone who is interested in helping with this cause to join our Senior Wellness Phonebank! You can register for a training here:



Help Run Women Run elect more pro-choice women this November! Find out how you can get involved in Run Women Run.