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The National Women's Political Caucus of Washington State is a grassroots, multi-partisan, volunteer-run, membership organization dedicated to increasing women's participation in the political process and getting more feminist women elected and appointed in Washington State. The NWPC is a national organization that was founded in 1971 and has chapters in 20+ states.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Political Strategists Share Info About Women in Politics in WA

Earlier this month the members of the NWPC-WA’s May Hutton Society were treated to an intimate discussion on women in politics with three top political consultants/strategists: Cathy Allen, principal of the Connections Group who works with women candidates around the world; AlisonPeters, pollster who works with candidates to develop research-based messaging, principal of Alison Peters Consulting; and Erin McCallum, President of Enterprise Washington, a non-partisan statewide organization that recruits, trains and helps elect business minded individuals.
Joining us for the conversation were Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark, past Rep. Laura Ruderman, and past candidate for the House, Marcee Stone.
Here is some of the great information our presenters shared:


Cathy Allen
  • Nine of the western hemisphere countries have over 25% women in political office right now.
  • In Canada’s election earlier this month, they reached 24.7% women elected at the national level.
  • 12 years ago we had a record number of women in WA legislature at over 40%, now down to 31.3%.
  • Less than 32% of the mayors in King County are women, down from 40% four years ago.
  • Women typically turn out in numbers 11% higher than men to vote. This Gender Gap will be 4-6% this year. 
  • Ironically, more men vote for women than women vote for women.
  • Top issues that will be on the ballot this year:
    • #1 issue- Too many chickens in the coup being brought by the Humane Society will have the most money spent on it.
    • #2= legalizing marijuana/medical marijuana
    • #3= rolling back initiative changing rules
    • Other issues:  Collective bargaining, dealing with taxes
  • Reapportionment is the best time for women to run, watch for open seats! Women win at 2-3x the average rate during reapportionment.
What can you do to help get more women elected?  
  • Invest in women at the national level. Commit to donating monthly from your credit card to a woman running for Congress.
  • We need to be the eyes and ears of women who could run for something, but make sure they fit the district they are running in.
  • Look locally and regionally for future women candidates.
  • Support organizations that identify and support women candidates, we need to bankroll them to win.
  • Important to stop slide of women candidates at local and King County level.

Erin McCallum
  • Lessons learned in 2010: critical to recruit and back candidates that match the district they are running in, not all do. 
  • The business community is very diverse. The prototype business owner in Washington is fiscally conservative and socially progressive. Business and economy issues make as good a sound bite as social issues do. 
  • Women business owners are fiscally conscientious, highly value quality of life issues, and issues like education and social justice.
  • We need find the best and brightest stars to build a farm team to build leadership in 2012, 2014 and beyond. 
  • Women are amazing candidates because they are kinder, more prone to negotiating, and they know how to make things work, as they don’t see things in merely black and white. 
  • The issue in 2012 will continue to be about job and health of the private sector. Women candidates should embrace this and not be intimidated by their male counterparts. We have significant female CEO’s who are bright, driven and focused. Let’s engage them and their employees in the political arena just like everyone else.

  Alison Peters
  • Biggest news this year was the Census data. Learned a great deal about women:
  • Women are earning bachelors and advanced degrees at a higher rate than men
  • Negative pay disparity is 30% nationwide.
  • Women who are heading households are earning the least of all households.
  • A recent CNN poll showed that the President’s favorability rating didn’t jump that high after the death of Osama Bin Laden. The jobs report and gas prices seem to most greatly affect the favorability rating.
  • Olympia issues to pay attention to: redistricting, voter-approved initiatives that restrict the legislature’s ability to act or lead.

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