July 2013 e-Newsletter
In this Issue:
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National Board Candidates
Linda Young - Democrat, TX
Veronica Rivera—Democrat, TX
Justine Quinones—Democrat, CA
Intern Spotlight: Caitlin Highland
Caitlin Highland, our intern from Alpharetta, GA, is a rising senior at Claremont McKenna College. She studies international relations and government. The NWPC is Caitlin’s third internship at a women’s organization.
At school, Caitlin is involved in Model United National and College Democrats. When she isn’t corralling people to phone bank or pretending to be a diplomat, she enjoys confusing her friends by speaking the little bit of isiXhosa she picked up while studying in Cape Town and reading feminist blogs and Politico.
Congratulations to Texas for Winning the First Annual “Make History” Foundation Fundraiser! NWPC-TX successfully raised the most for the foundation during our March Women’s History Month foundation fundraiser and won a trip to Santa Fe, NM.
Donate now for the 2014 Make History Fund Drive and help your state wine a fabulous prize next year.
NJ Senate Special Election: Sheila Oliver
Democratic candidate Sheila Oliver is running in a special election to fill the seat of the late New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who passed away earlier this summer. The primary elections will take place on August 13, and the general election will be held October 16, with the winner of the general election serving the remainder of the current term until the next election in November 2014.
Oliver is the only female candidate in the race, and if she wins the election she will be New Jersey’s first female Senator. Oliver, recognizing this fact, has stressed the need for more women in Congress throughout her campaign. Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Congressmen Frank Pallone and Rush Holt are also running in the Democratic primary.
Oliver is currently the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly. If elected, she plans to work to improve education, reduce the cost of college, fund continuing Sandy relief, and revive the economy in failing industrial and suburban areas.
UPDATE: Abortion Legislation
In the wake of legislation banning all abortions after 20 weeks passing the US House, Republican lawmakers are taking the abortion debate to the state level as well. While Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster of Texas anti-choice legislation drew national attention, several other states have also recently considered or passed restrictive anti-choice legislation. So far in 2013, 17 states have passed abortion restrictions. Below is an examination of some of the more restrictive legislation that has passed in recent months. The graph above, created by the Feminist Majority, shows an alarming trend for women in states held by conservative legislatures.
Over the July 4th weekend, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker quietly signed into law restrictive abortion legislation similar to the more highly publicized legislation in Texas. The law forces women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound and requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting procedures at a local hospital. Soon after the legislation passed, a federal judge put a temporary ten day hold on enforcement of the new law. Although the injunction is not permanent, opponents of the bill hope that it will be struck down by the appeals court. If not, two of the state’s four abortion clinics are expected to close.
Also over the July 4th weekend, North Carolina lawmakers added a host of abortion regulations to an unrelated bill regulating the application of Islamic Sharia law. The bill contained every abortion restriction introduced in the 2013 legislative session, including authorizing the state health department to apply standards for ambulatory surgical centers to the clinics, a standard that only one of the state’s 16 abortion clinics currently meets. After North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory threatened to veto the bill, the North Carolina House added similar restrictions into an unrelated motorcycle regulations bill, which the Governor now supports. The new bill passed the House on July 11, 2013. However, a recent poll showed that only 34 percent of North Carolina voters support the abortion regulations, with 80 percent opposing how the bill was brought to the floor and passed.
The North Dakota legislature passed two laws that will go into effect on August 1, each of which is sufficient to force the state’s only abortion clinic, the Red River clinic, to close. The first law bans abortions after the first detection of a fetal heartbeat, which is about six weeks into pregnancy, a restriction that would eliminate 89 percent of Red River patients. The second requires doctors who perform abortions to gain admitting privileges at a local hospital, privileges that doctors at the clinic would be unable to receive at any of the three hospitals in the area. The laws are now being challenged in the courts, and abortion rights supporters are particularly optimistic that the fetal heartbeat law will be ruled unconstitutional. If either law stands, however, an area spanning over 800 miles will be left without any abortion provider.
Virginia’s busiest abortion clinic, NOVA Women’s Healthcare, was forced to close as a result of recent legislation that required abortion clinics to be on par with hospital-grade facilities, as was another clinic that had been in operation for 40 years. The regulations are also expected to have an effect on many of the state’s 18 remaining clinics, and it is unclear if NOVA Women’s Healthcare will reopen. The clinic applied to move to a new location in order to comply with the new state standards, but the request was denied due to inadequate parking space.
We are still hard at work fighting for the ERA legislation that has been introduced this Congressional session. As of now, two bills have been introduced in the Senate and one bill has been introduced in the House. S.J. Res. 43 and H.J. Res 15 are the three-state strategy bills, and S.J. Res. 10 is the start-over strategy legislation in the Senate. The three-state strategy legislation extends the deadline for ratification of the last ERA bill to pass Congress, while the start-over strategy re-introduces the amendment from scratch.
There are now 82 cosponsors for H.J. Res. 43, which is the greatest number of cosponsors ever for three-state-strategy legislation. We are also up to 30 cosponsors for S.J. Res. 15, and 15 cosponsors for S.J. Res. 10. We are excited by the progress thus far, and will continue to push for more cosponsors on all three pieces of legislation. We also expect Representative Carolyn Maloney to introduce start-over legislation soon in the House to serve as the House counterpart to S.J. Res. 10.
NWPC Programs Director Bettina Hager also spoke about lobbying for the ERA on July 5 at the National Organization for Women convention in Chicago.
Dear NWPC Members and Friends,
We are getting very close to Convention, and I hope you are planning to visit us in Austin, because we have a wonderful overall program for you this year. As I shared in the President’s Report last month, we have special events, keynote speakers, panelists, and educational workshops, but especially we will honor and celebrate those of our NWPC Founders who will join us for the festivities. We will also honor and present awards during our Diversity Reception, with the Women of Courage Awards, and during the Good Guys Gala, with our Good Guys and Good Corporations Awards. The theme of this Convention is Women: Standing Up, Leaning In.
The venue we chose is a Hilton Garden Inn, and it is located in the Convention Center district but also right in the heart of our famous 6th street club and music section of the city, so in the evening after our Convention events, we know some of you at least will want your walking (or dancing) shoes.
The Good Guys Awards Gala has been a tradition since 1986, but this year we have a new addition and category: the new NWPC Foundation is going great, and they have coined a new category and honor for Good Corporations, recognizing those corporations that have built a corporate culture of supporting growth for women, of even developing initiatives that promote women’s leadership skills, and other women-friendly programs within their work settings. So, you will have to wait a little longer to know all, but to give you the flavor of this new category, one of the Good Corporations being honored is Southwest Airlines. You need to come see who they are honoring and help us appreciate companies that encourage and support women.
Another very special part of the Convention will be the Diversity Reception, and you have seen the winners of the Women of Courage, but I am also giving the President’s Award, Women of Courage, to the two Texas State Senators who championed to protect the rights of Texas women, Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte. Senator Van de Putte will keynote for us for the Good Guys, and be prepared, because she has a wonderful wit and is not afraid to use it.
Also at the Diversity Reception we will have the honor of having a well-known journalist and former Editor of the Texas Observer, Susan Richardson, who heads up the project at the University of Texas, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice that received a grant to do a three year study on the Frances “Sissy” Farenthold papers, videos, speeches, etc. collection, be with us for the Reception and through the Convention. Susan said that she will bring a documentary filmmaker to film portions of the Reception, and to do some additional interviews. http://www.utexas.edu/law/centers/humanrights/farenthold/
There is much more to share, and some things are so very exciting you may just have to watch your email inbox, because we will be sending updates as we get closer. Don’t miss all the fun—we want YOU to be there. The goal adopted in Convention quite a number of years ago of 50-50 by 2020 needs all of us if we are going to make it happen, and not only all of us, but at least ten more each of us must bring in to do the work. If you haven’t signed up, there is still time, but the room rate expires July 26, so check it out. See you soon!
NWPC's 21st Biennial Convention: Austin TX, August 9-11!
The 21st NWPC biennial convention is next month! We are excited about all of the great programming that’s on the agenda.
The convention will take place from August 9, 2013, through August 11, 2013, at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown/Convention Center in Austin, Texas. The Convention Committee has secured excellent speakers for a variety of breakout sessions in each of four tracks:
In addition to the breakout sessions, the convention will also feature other exciting programming, including several training sessions, the honoring of this year’s Women of Courage Award recipients, and the election of NWPC officers. Click here to access a schedule for the convention.
August 2nd is the Registration Deadline, so secure your spot now! Registration costs $250, and instructions for how to register can be found on the NWPC website. We look forward to seeing you in Austin!
We are excited to celebrate some amazing women this year and highlight their great accomplishments. Friday, August 9th from 7:00-9:00 P.M., NWPC will host its Diversity Reception, including its Women of Courage Awards Ceremony. There ceremony will be held at the Copa Bar & Grill at 217 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701. Seven women leaders will be recognized at the reception as Women of Courage: Brenda Clubine, Frances “Sissy” Farenthold, former Representative Gabby Giffords, Representative Grace Napolitano, Barbara Pyle, state Senator Diane Savino, and Senator Elizabeth Warren. The cost of this reception is included in registration, so do not miss out! Help us celebrate the accomplishments of these amazing women.
As part of our convention programming, we will offer three training workshops on Friday, August 9.
The morning campaign training will be held by local Austin, TX experts on how to sharpen your campaign skills. NWPC Vice President for Education and Training Lisa Kaado and NWPC Vice President for Board Operations Teray Stephens will lead the programs in the afternoon, designed to help you develop important fundraising, lobbying, and leadership skills. The sessions are a great opportunity to learn how to get politically involved and support women in a variety of different capacities!
Advanced Campaign Skills Training
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
YOU make the difference! Whether you seek a public office for yourself or want to get other women elected, NWPC offers you the insight and the tools you need to get into the game. Let us show you how to play hard, play smart, and score!
Lobbying and the ERA
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Be an effective advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment. Elected officials are public servants sworn to serve the public good. In order to do this, they need to hear from…well, the public. Learn important skills for establishing a productive dialogue with your legislators, and how you can use those skills to successfully advocate for the passage of the ERA. Raise awareness, help shape legislation, and hold their feet to the fire.
”Getting to Yes”
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Regrettably, many women and young people are uncomfortable when asking for money to support their goals. This seminar is meant to change that. Learn an important process that will help you ask for and get money for your business, campaign, or cause. All participants will leave with handouts and a video to assist with remembering the process.
Stepping up to Leadership
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Join the women of NWPC on the front line in the fight for women’s rights. The hard-won victories of the past are facing serious threats and the advancement of women’s rights is anything but assured. Be part of the force that refuses to lose ground on the issues that affect our very lives. Learn how to organize and lead women in your community to effectuate real and lasting social change.
Stand with Texas Women!
A recent fight over abortion legislation in Texas drew national attention, and women across the state found a fierce defender and advocate for their reproductive rights.
Texas governor Rick Perry called a special session on July 1, 2013 to debate a bill to ban all abortions after 20 weeks. The bill also closes all but 5 of the 42 clinics currently in operation in the state.
Texas Senator Wendy Davis took a powerful stand for abortion rights by filibustering the bill for 13 hours. Davis could not take breaks, lean on anything for rest, or speak off topic. She received strong support both from protesters who lined the Texas statehouse and from thousands of Americans watching from across the country. Davis’s filibuster was successful, as the bill did not pass during the special session.
However, the filibuster did not kill the bill permanently, and the bill passed on July 12, 2013. Opponents of the bill now hope that courts will rule it is unconstitutional.
Texas Senator Leticia Van De Putte also defended Davis on the night of the filibuster, asking the chamber, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” NWPC has created a “Let Her Voice Be Heard” T-shirt, honoring this powerful statement. State Senator Van De Putte is pictured below wearing the shirt! Click here purchase your own.
Call for 2014 Candidates
NWPC has begun its search for candidates to endorse for the 2014 elections. We have reached out to over 60 candidates and have already heard back from several promising women. If you have heard of any candidates that you would like to draw NWPC’s attention to, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We are excited to begin offering our support to a new set of qualified candidates!
Also, don’t forget your asks -- it’s time to recruit! Women are 50% less likely than men to consider running for office, so it’s important to specifically reach out to and recruit female candidates. One person’s encouragement can go a long way!
2014 Election Preview
Many women previously endorsed by the NWPC are moving on to exciting races and working to improve women’s rights. Here is a small sampling:
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has been taking a strong stand in Congress. She has cosponsored bills related to the equal rights amendment, VAWA, and the Paycheck Fairness Act. She was first elected to the Senate in a competitive race against former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson in 2012, and was first elected to Congress in 1998.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) led the fight in the Senate surrounding sexual assault in the military last month. Her plan outlined a change in chain of command for reporting sexual assault, as many times a superior is the perpetrator. She was able to persuade several legislators originally against her plan to promote it. Unfortunately, Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin has decided to promote a different plan, which does not alter chain of command. Nevertheless, Gillibrand’s legislation continues to gain support.
Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) won re-election in 2012 in a highly competitive district. State Representative Adam Kwasman has been exploring a campaign for her seat. However, Representative Kirkpatrick has proven herself to be an effective legislator. In her 2008-2010 term, more of her bills and amendments were passed than any other freshman legislator. She has also cosponsored important bills for women, including the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 and the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Out and About
The National Women’s Political Caucus of California continues to be active. On July 14, 2013, the National Women’s Political Caucuses of Southern California, LA Metro, Pasadena, Westside, San Fernando, and South Bay hosted a Sunday Brunch Soiree for former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who is running for Supervisor District 1. On July 19, 2013, the National Women’s Political Caucus-OC and U.S. Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez hosted a special evening reception honoring Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. On July 26-28, 2013, the National Women’s Political Caucus of California will have a state board meeting in Oakland. During that weekend, there will be a fundraiser reception honoring Texas Senator Wendy Davis. There will be another state board meeting from October 18-20, 2013.www.nwpcca.org
On June 20, 2013, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus hosted the “Women & Politics: How to Run for Office” training seminar in Salem, Massachusetts. Speakers include Helen Corbett, Joyce Ferriabough-Bolling, Meg Hogan, Kristin MacEachern, Susan Tracy, and Meredith Warren. At that event, attendees learned about beginning a campaign, working with the media, and raising money. www.mwpc.org
On June 20, 2013, the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey hosted its annual PAC event honoring the women of the 115th Legislature of New Jersey.www.wpcnj.org