Serving in public office does not often pay well, especially at the state or local level, and running a successful campaign costs money. People who are already wealthy are more likely to run for office, and thus more likely to get elected.
This problem affects women - especially women of color - disproportionately, as they typically have lower incomes and lower net worths than men.
This trend also holds true on the state level, where state legislators are often not paid enough to sustain themselves and their families without additional sources of income - a problem that limits access to lower-income potential politicians.
The wealth discrepancy between constituents and their representatives not only means that Americans are being represented by people who don’t know what it is like to be in their shoes, but also that important decisions are often made without people of low or middle-income present in the room.
In order to make sure policies are not being created with only the wealthy in mind, we must level the playing field and create systems that allow people of all incomes to run for office.