Ready to Run and Ready to Win
Last Friday, right here in Washington, D.C., EMILY’s List Political Opportunity Program (POP) held its final candidate training for the 2011-2012 cycle, and I was lucky enough to attend. It’s symbolic that POP had its last training in the District, home to the nation’s legislative, judicial, and executive branches. But this program is about more than the House or Senate, it’s about getting qualified, pro-choice Democratic women ready to wage and win campaigns for state and local offices.
Between 2001 and 2010, POP held over 180 trainings in 36 states, and trained over 6,300 people. This training brought together women with political aspirations from school board to Senate, representing D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and even Kenya. These women came to D.C. ready to learn and ready to win -- the passion and determination in the room was nothing less than contagious. I was never really sure if I had it in me to run for office, but I can safely say that POP made me a believer.
EMILY’s List has made the idea of running for office -- at any level -- and winning a much more achievable goal for many women. The POP program is committed to getting as involved in these state and local races as possible, forming relationships with the candidates and supporting them from the start of their campaigns till the end. Stressing the points that social status, economic status, and gender don’t determine whether you can win, POP truly empowers women to believe that they can not only run for office, but they can win.
There was a strong showing of women from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia hoping to get involved in politics and fight back against the onslaught of right-wing, extremist legislation targeted at limiting, if not eliminating, women’s reproductive rights and freedoms. Just last month Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton was denied the opportunity to testify at an all-male committee hearing on a DC abortion ban -- a hearing dominated by a man who doesn’t represent the district but does want to impose his personal beliefs on women and families. As a native of the D.C. area, it was inspiring to leave this training, knowing that these women were committed to fighting to protect and preserve my rights as a woman -- something that other local legislators have not been keen on doing.
The training participants, motivated by the War on Women, are ready to run, win, and fight back against the GOP’s anti-women agenda. Seeing so many pro-choice, Democratic women from all different backgrounds and cultures in one room is a great indicator of how committed women are to changing the face of politics and stopping the GOP from rolling the clocks back.
From the moment that you are thinking about running for office to providing you with the winning edge, EMILY’s List Political Opportunity Program is there every step of the way. This has been an awesome year for POP, 1311 pro-choice Democratic women and their staff trained and 37 total trainings in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
If you are thinking about running for office, go for it, POP don’t stop, and neither should you!