Women in PA

2012 Election: Add Women, Change Everything

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on March 22nd, 2012 by admin – 2 Comments

http://www.genconnect.com/lifestyle/women-politics-2012-election-congress-legislatures-2012-project/

By Laurie Kretchmar

2012 is a pivotal election year for a number of reasons, not least of which is the opportunity for a record number of women to be elected to state legislatures and Congress; the 2012 Project on the importance of more female voices in government

Not one state – not California, not New York – has women serving in half the seats in its state legislature. California’s is 28 percent, while New York’s is only 21 percent. South Carolina trails the nation at 9 percent.

Women are best represented in Colorado, where they hold 41 percent of seats. Does the presence of women make a difference? Research says it does. Women tend to bring different agendas, content and processes. As The White House Project memorably says: “Add women; change everything.”

I asked Karen Middleton, president of Emerge America, a Democratic training organization, about serving as a state legislator in Colorado.

“I saw strong bipartisan support for some key issues affecting women and children,” Middleton said. “Laws around veterans’ families, domestic violence, cancer screening — we did great work in these areas. Women on both sides of the aisle led the way on important legislation, such as re-purposing coal plants with natural gas turbines–a new law that helped the environment and kept energy-related jobs in the state.”

Patricia Lindner, a Republican who served in the Illinois legislature, said, “Women are more willing to cut the partisan bickering and work with all sides to accomplish goals.”

To inspire more women to consider politics, the nonpartisan 2012 Project, where I work as media director, is working with dozens of allies including The White House Project, Emerge America and Rachel’s Network. The goal is to educate people about the low numbers of women in office today and ask accomplished women to consider running for state legislatures and Congress.

As USA Today reports, this year is a potentially record year for electing women – if women run. There are open seats in state legislatures and Congress due to redistricting in every state, 13 states with term limits and an expected presidential election year turnout.

Women and newcomers do best running for open seats. Of the 24 new women elected to Congress in 1992, known as the “Year of the Woman,” 22 won open seats. There is vast room for improvement. In 20 states today, zero women serve in congressional delegations.

What if this isn’t your year? You love the idea of electing more women, but the moment isn’t right for you. What can you do?

  • Help The 2012 Project to get the word out about the opportunities that remain.
  • Reach out to women in your community who may not have considered running. Remember, women often wait to be asked to run; issue that invitation yourself as a citizen who’d like to see better government. Consider women from backgrounds and professions that haven’t been well represented in government, and look for women of color, who can also bring distinctive perspectives.
  • Refer any women you think would make great candidates to The 2012 Project at info@the2012project.us. We will provide women interested in exploring a candidacy with a roadmap to launch a successful campaign.
  • Support women candidates. Whatever your own political leanings, find a woman candidate you admire and boost her candidacy, whether as a donor or volunteer. Check out this regularly updated list of women running for Congress and statewide executive offices (with links to candidate websites in many cases), or find out who’s running for the legislature or local offices in your state.
  • When it comes time to cast your ballot, vote for the women candidates of your choice.

Female candidates for Congress on upward trend

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on January 30th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

WASHINGTON – The roster of congressional candidates for this year’s elections is taking shape and one trend is emerging: 2012 could be another “Year of the Woman” in American politics.

 

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has tried to encourage more women to run for congressional office.

By J. Scott Applewhite, AP
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has tried to encourage more women to run for congressional office.

 

The moniker was famously applied in 1992 when four women were elected to the Senate, a high watermark for the chamber that has never been surpassed.

This year, however, a notable number of candidates are running in potentially competitive races in both the House of Representatives and Senate that could send a wave of female lawmakers to Washington in November. If so, it would reverse the 2010 election trend that saw the first dip in female representation in the House since 1978 and only sent one woman, New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte, to the Senate.

In the 2012 Senate lineup, there are 10 female candidates — four Republicans and six Democrats — seeking office. Of the six states with female Democratic candidates — Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota and Wisconsin — none has ever elected a woman to the Senate.

Republican women are running in Connecticut, Hawaii, Missouri and New Mexico.

“Both parties have made a concerted effort to attract more women candidates,” said Jessica Taylor, a senior analyst for the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. Taylor said campaign operations are cognizant of seeking out diverse candidates and female candidates can be particularly appealing because independent female voters are often a decisive voting bloc in elections.

Leading female lawmakers — including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who runs the Senate Democrats‘ campaign operation — have made concerted efforts to recruit more women to run.

The Democratic congressional campaign operation is fielding candidates in 76 House races they hope to make competitive, and about half of those districts have female candidates.

“Many of us view gender parity as a goal for Congress,” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who has helped recruit candidates this year.

Democratic candidates include Val Demings, an African-American woman who was Orlando’s first female police chief; Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth in Illinois; and Iowan Christie Vilsack, the wife of former governor and current Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., who chairs Democrats’ recruitment, said women can be very effective messengers when so many Americans are worried about kitchen-table issues affecting family finances and when voters increasingly say they want lawmakers to compromise and get things done.

“They (women) come as problem solvers,” Schwartz said.

Republicans agree, but have had less success in recruiting women to run for the GOP. House Republicans are fielding seven female candidates in potentially competitive races in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri.

“Bottom line is these women will make great representatives,” says Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the House Republican campaign operation. “Not only do they come from different backgrounds and professions, in many households, they control the family budget.”

Among female GOP candidates are former representative Heather Wilson, a Senate candidate in New Mexico, and Ann Wagner, a former Missouri Republican Party chairwoman and a former ambassador to Luxembourg, who is seeking a House seat.

 

 

 

Article by Susan Davis, USA Today

Click here to open article on USAToday.com

 

Conference Readies Women to Run for Political Office

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on January 23rd, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment
By Deanna Garcia
(Deanna Garcia/Essential Public Radio)
Executive Speech and Presentation Coach Deb Sofield talked about the art of public speaking.
Women outnumber men in the U.S. according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but their numbers are few when it comes to elected office be it on the local, state or federal level. A national movement is trying to change that by teaching women about the political process. One such event was held in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Pennsylvania Near the Bottom

Pennsylvania ranks 42 in the nation when it comes to women holding elected office. Out of 50 state senators, 11 are women, and out of 203 representatives, 33 are women. The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University aims to increase the female presence in politics and public policy through events such as Saturday’s Ready to Run Conference.

“We need to run campaigns that are very viable, very professional, that are very excellent campaigns that people can remember whether we win or lose,” said Valerie McDonald Roberts, Manager for the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate. She also held the office when it was an elected position.

Roberts was on a panel at the event, which drew about 75 women from Allegheny County and surrounding areas. She said there are several reasons there aren’t more women in politics.

“We have been marginalized for so many years. We are dealing with a deficit, a structural deficit that has been rolling over year after year after year with women and minorities not being at the seat of the table,” Roberts said.

That was the prevailing feeling in the room — that breaking into the so-called “Good Old Boys” system is extremely hard to do, but not impossible if women can learn to be heard and learn to be confident.

Women attending the Ready to Run conference
(Deanna Garcia/Essential Public Radio)
Saturday’s Ready to Run conference at Chatham University was one of several events around the county intended to encourage more women to run for public office.

“To be aggressive, to be focused, to not only want a seat at the table, but to take it. It is not going to be given to you, you need to know how to take it just like men have for hundreds and hundreds of years,” said Roberts.

But, it seems that every campaign season there’s an aggressive woman who ends up getting labeled negatively as a ball-buster, witch, or something that rhymes with ‘witch,’ but Roberts said that’s just become a reality in politics.

“We have to understand that there is a double standard, we are not going to defeat that double standard, but we need to get around that double standard,” she said.

Money Talks

Panelist Deb Sofield is an executive speech and presentation coach. She said in the political arena, reality is harsh. When a male candidate cries, people see him as sensitive; when a woman cries, she’s labeled as overly emotional or crazy. While there was a lot of talk about institutional challenges, and that double standard, the main obstacle facing women who want to run for office is money.

“It’s an expensive game. You’ve gotta build your network then make your net work. What you have to do is find some way for people to financially put you where you need to be,” said Sofield.

An afternoon session was focused solely on the financial aspect of running for office. Only a handful of the women in attendance are currently thinking of running for office soon, and they all expressed discomfort with asking for money. That is true of Stephanie Gallagher. She’s currently a supervisor of Buffalo Township, Washington County, but is considering a run for state office. She says she knows she has to overcome her reluctance to ask for money.

“It’s a very humbling experience. You don’t really want to ask people. You’re hoping they just know you need it and that’s not always the case. The key is to ask,” she said.

Knowing the Game

Panelists touched on a wide variety of topics, including body language, speech patterns, ways to stand, and hand shaking. Organizers wouldn’t allow reporting of the actual panel and discussions in an effort to allow the speakers and participants to feel comfortable being as open and honest as possible.

Overall, Gallagher said the experience was an empowering one. “You just have to stand your ground and know your beliefs and just do what you feel is the right thing to do,” she said. “I’m ready to stand a bigger ground and push more positive action to another level.”

The overriding message of the day to the women was to know what they’re talking about, and that if women want to be taken seriously, they have to do their homework before stepping into the public eye.

“Don’t go out there because someone says you should run for office and you think it’s a good idea. You don’t want to embarrass yourself. If you don’t do due diligence and don’t do an assessment to see if everything is feasible, you don’t want to embarrass yourself, you don’t want to get out there and cause embarrassment for other women,” said Valerie McDonald Roberts.

Ready to Run events will be held in other U.S. cities in the next few months, mostly with the goal of jump starting some campaigns for the 2012 election cycle and beyond.

http://www.essentialpublicradio.org/story/2012-01-21/conference-readies-women-run-political-office-9953

State program aiming to get women in office

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on January 3rd, 2012 by admin – 1 Comment

Chelsa Wagner knows that being a woman in a field where men “tend to groom replacements for themselves” can present challenges.

One of Pittsburgh’s first women to be elected to a full term in the state House, Wagner officially leaves behind that job in Harrisburg when she is inaugurated today as Allegheny County’s first female controller.

“You can’t change the nature of the game,” said Wagner, a Beechview Democrat. “You have to figure out how to run within it.”

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_774609.html?_s_icmp=NetworkHeadlines

Roll Call Report: Democratic Doylestown Supervisor Exploring Run for Congress in PA-8

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on October 27th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Doylestown Supervisor Cynthia Philo, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against state Senator Chuck McIlhinney in 2010, is considering a run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District, according to a report published by Roll Call on Tuesday.

Read More: http://www.politicspa.com/roll-call-report-democratic-doylestown-supervisor-exploring-run-for-congress-in-pa-8/28972/

Not at the Table? Must be on the Menu

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on October 3rd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Over the past several years, women running for office around the country have made headlines, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, to name a few. But these high-profile women obscure a sad truth: the percentage of American women holding public office remains dismally low. Today, women hold 24 percent of state legislative offices; 21 percent of the statewide offices; 17 percent of US Senate seats; 17 percent of the seats in the US House of Representatives and 12 percent of governorships.

Read More: http://bizchicks.org/2011/09/not-at-the-table-must-be-on-the-menu-…/

N.J. governor: Gender balance key in redistricting

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on September 26th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

As Pennsylvania prepares to redraw its legislative map, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman issued a warning Friday: Don’t end up like New Jersey.

Women legislators in that state lost ground, she noted, after New Jersey officials redrew districts that, deliberately or not, favored districts with male incumbents.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11267/1177194-53.stm#ixzz1Z4Msuc24

Women Should Be More Involved with Politics, Say Panelists

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on September 26th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

The Pennsylvania 2012 Project held its Western Pennsylvania Inaugural Conference on Friday in Downtown Pittsburgh. About two hundred community stakeholders attended to listen to a variety of speakers discuss the role of women in politics, the obstacles they face, and different ways to increase their numbers.

Read More: http://www.essentialpublicradio.org/story/2011-09-23/women-should-be-more-involved-politics-say-panelists-7338

Pa. redistricting panel urged to consider gender

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on September 15th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

A panel charged with redrawing Pennsylvania’s legislative map was urged at a public hearing Wednesday to consider the impact of its revisions on the number of women serving in the state Capitol.

“Women may lose ground in this redistricting process,” said Dana Brown, the executive director of Chatham University’s Center for Women and Politics.

Read More: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2011/Sep/14/pa__redistricting_panel_urged_to_consider_gender.html

The Women’s Campaign Forum Announces Endorsements in PA Local Races

Posted in In the News, Women in PA on September 6th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

In Pennsylvania, which ranks 42nd in the country for women’s representation in local government and has only one woman in its Congressional delegation, this fall’s election season could be a big deal for women’s rights groups.

The Women’s Campaign Forum (WCF) has recently announced a group of local candidates that they are endorsing in the fall elections. According to its website, WCF “endorses qualified women candidates running for all levels of office, across the country, of any political party, who pledge to support reproductive health choices and options for all.”

Read More: http://www.politicspa.com/wcf-announces-endorsements-in-pa-local-races/27438/