January 2013 e-Newsletter
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Dear NWPC Members and Friends,
Women's History Month has been a very busy month for NWPC, and we have much to share. For almost two weeks of the month, I was in Washington, and the schedule was busy.
Suffrage Weekend had so many opportunities for participation, and several presentations and events were scheduled in various locations over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday so that we had competing offerings--but there were many of our sister organizations and individuals who had come to celebrate.
Many groups participated in the march on Sunday, the march led by the Deltas who were part of the march one hundred years ago, though it took a number more years before women had the vote. Over 20,000 marched, and the scene was very emotional. Check out photos through the weekend on the website! It was fun to also get a picture with NWPC past president Lulu Flores and old friend and former NWPC Board member from CA, Elmy Bermejo, who now has a position in the federal government.
NWPC was well represented throughout the weekend, and we made new contacts as well as expanded appreciation for NWPC's programming and focus. One of our new friends are those from UniteWomen.org, and we commend their energy and outreach. UniteWomen.org founder and President, Karen Teegarden of Detroit, MI, told us her experience of wanting to "do something that could unite women into action" when she sat watching the Congressional hearings on television when all men were testifying on health care and birth control as Sandra Fluke was denied the right to do so. She said she went to the computer and started a group on Facebook, never thinking it was and organization but really just an attempt to find others who were infuriated by what was happening. Yet, in three weeks there were 12,000 in that group. In the year since inception, the ranks number 2 million; they have held 53 rallies across the country, and will have a national meeting in Richmond VA at the end of the month. I have been asked to speak at that meeting, and have accepted. Additionally, I have agreed to sign on to their newest campaign that is being launched in preparation for April, when it is Sexual Assault Awareness month. UniteWomen has recruited individuals to participate, but also many sister organizations, so watch for the campaign.
The US Department of Energy celebrated Women's History Month with a program March 12 on women in energy, Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imigination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. I was honored to serve on one of the two panels for the program, representing the NWPC, sharing the panel with Terri O'Neill, president of NOW, Edie Fraser CEO STEMconnector and Enterprising Women's Hall of Fame, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
On the 13th, I served as Co-chair for an event honoring Senator Shaheen, held at Edie Fraser's home. It was great that Sherrill Mulhern, of Kansas City MO and Paris, France, came that evening and we had the chance to meet in person. Sherrill is president of a company in Kansas City, and has long served with the NWPC Kansas City Foundation, also is a professor who teaches in Paris, and for some months to come, she will also be in DC quite a bit, helping her daughter with the new granddaughter. Sherrill is the newest addition to the Board of the NWPC Foundation, and we are happy to have her.
We look forward to our April Board meeting, hosted by NWPC Pasadena CA , April 19-21, with a Sunday Brunch honoring Sandra Fluke. We appreciate Pasadena's offer and efforts to host us, and hope many Board members will make plans to join us for an event-filled weekend.
As with each of our successes with NWPC and as we find new partners and continue our efforts toward equality for all, and for bringing more qualified women into the pipeline and to elected office, YOU are critical to the good the organization achieves. Thank you for your work for Caucus, and for your commitment to ward parity.
(*note that President Linda Young is now on the Presidential Personnel Committee for White House appointments, for the second Obama term)
Secretary of Interior
On February 6, 2013, Barack Obama nominated REI CEO Sally Jewell to replace Ken Salazar as U.S. Interior Secretary. This selection of a businesswoman, not a politician, is unusual. Jewell is the first woman among Obama’s second-term nominations to the Cabinet. The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held Jewell’s confirmation hearing on March 7th.
Environmental Protection Agency
On March 4, 2013, Barack Obama nominated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy to be the EPA Administrator. McCarthy had worked for the environment in Connecticut and Massachusetts. However, the EPA’s Inspector General’s report has criticized the RedNet monitoring program, which McCarthy oversees.
Office of Management and Budget
On March 4, 2013, Barack Obama nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Burwell currently runs the Wal-Mart Foundation. During the week of March 4, 2013, the liberal The Nation magazine published an article criticizing her work at that foundation. Burwell was a member of President Bill Clinton’s economic group during the entire Clinton Administration; she was OMB’s Deputy Director, and she was Chief of Staff to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. In addition, she had been President of the Global Development Program of the Gates Foundation.
On February 12, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill by a vote of 78 to 22 with a few amendments. Some Republicans who voted against VAWA last year voted for it this year. This year’s bill authorizes $659 over five years for VAWA programs, and it expands VAWA to include new protections for LGBT and Native American victims of domestic violence. However, it left out the provision about undocumented immigrants.
The U.S. House of Representatives handled this issue. On February 22, 2013, House Republicans released their version of the VAWA. Sponsored by U.S. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), this bill does not go as far as the recently-passed Senate bill. The House bill does not guarantee equal coverage for homosexual victims of domestic violence, and it would create a challenge for tribal courts to prosecute non-Native Americans who charged with assaulting women on lands of tribes. The House bill also has stricter guidelines regarding illegal immigrants. Democrats rejected the bills, and advocates against domestic violence are concerned with it.
On February 28, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives held Floor votes on the VAWA. First, after almost 90 minutes of debate, the House voted against the Republican version of that act by a vote of 166-257. Then, 87 Republicans joined all 199 Democrats to pass the Senate version by a 286-138 vote.
On March 7, 2013, Barack Obama signed the VAWA into law. He dedicated the events of March 7th to every survivor of domestic violence. Vice President Joe Biden, who as a U.S. Senator introduced the original VAWA bill in 1994, introduced Obama. Both were joined by other major elected officials; women’s organizations; law enforcement officers; Native American tribal leaders; and survivors of domestic violence.
The National Women’s Political Caucus observed Suffrage Weekend with a pair of events. On March 1, 2013, the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) hosted a Congressional briefing about the “Equal Rights Amendment: Unfinished Businesses for the Constitution.” The NWPC, the National Organization for Women, and the Feminist Majority Foundation assisted with this event. Speakers included NWPC’s Programs Director Bettina Hager, National Organization for Women’s Vice President of Membership Allendra Letsome, Virginia State Corporations Commission’s Allison Held, and Feminist Majority Foundation’s President Eleanor Smeal. Co-Chair of the NCWO ERA Task Force Roberta Francis moderated this discussion.
On March 2, 2013, the National Women’s Political Caucus and the American Association of University Women held its “Educating and Advocating: Organizing for the ERA” training. NWPC’s Programs Director Bettina Hager and E.R.A. Education Project’s Executive Director Project Kamala Lopez offered advice and resources on the Equal Rights Amendment were scheduled, but when Kamala Lopez became ill at the last moment, President Linda Young presented the ERA Education portion of the session.
On March 3, 2013, the Delta Centennial Suffrage March occurred in Washington, D.C. The Delta Sigma Sorority, the National Women’s History Museum, the Sewall-Belmont House Museum, and the National Organization for Women organized this march, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of Washington’s Women’s Suffrage Parade. Participants walked from the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn to the Washington Monument.
On February 27, 2013, Arizona Women’s Political Caucus (AWPC) held its “Pima County & Tucson Women’s Commission Reception Honoring Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.” As stated in the last NWPC newsletter, the AWPC 21st Annual Women Making History Luncheon will occur at 11:30 a.m. on March 15, 2013, in Tucson. www.awpconline.org.
In early-mid February 2013, the National Women’s Political Caucus of Los Angeles County endorsed Wendy Gruel, who is running to be Los Angeles’ first woman mayor. On April 19, 2013, through April 21, 2013, NWPC California NWPC Greater Pasadena is hosting the National Women’s Political Caucus National Board meeting. On April 26, 2013, through April 28, 2013, the NWPC LA Metro will host the State Board meeting. www.nwpcca.org
On February 26, 2013, the Missouri State Women’s Political Caucus (MSWPC) hosted a Women’s Lobby Day in Jefferson City. Participants met with legislators. On February 28, 2013, the MSWPC held a membership meeting. Another membership meeting will be on March 28, 2013. At 7:00 p.m. on April 3, 2013, Lilly Ledbetter will speak about the Fair Pay Act at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. www.mowpc.org
NWPC-South Dakota has had a busy February and early March. It held Legislative Coffees on February 2, 2013; February 9, 2013; and February 23, 2013. On February 12, 2013, the Caucus Social occurred. A general meeting happened on March 2, 2013. www.nwpcsd.org
As stated in the last NWPC newsletter, the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington will host its Women’s Campaign Training on March 30, 2013. www.wpcnet.org