November 2013 e-Newsletter
In this Issue:
Board Spotlight: Sherrill Mulhern
Sherrill Mulhern is NWPC’s new Vice President of Development for the 2013-2015 term. Sherrill has deep roots in our Nation’s capital. After completing her B.A. in Philosophy in Washington, D.C. in 1969, Sherrill moved to Paris, France where she completed graduate degrees in Religious and Medical Anthropology, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Science Sociales and the Université de Paris 7. Beginning in 1982, she assumed the presidency of the George W. Miller Real Estate Management Company and became a regular trans-Atlantic commuter. In 1997 she became president of the Master Craftsmen Foundation and in 2002 shifted her permanent residence back to the U.S.A.
Today she serves as a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus Foundation Board, the Women in Politics (WIP) Foundation Board, the Greater Kansas City Women’s Foundation Advocacy Committee, the Business Retention Committee of the Kansas City Downtown Council, the Kansas City Lyric Opera Board and Education Committee, the Trustee Education Committee at the Nelson Atkins Museum, and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival Board. We are thrilled to add Sherrill to the National Board!
Intern Spotlight: Mark Priebe
Mark Priebe was born in Dallas, TX and grew up in one of its many suburbs. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in December of 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in French. He got involved in women’s rights during the fight over Texas SB 5, and participated in demonstrations with his girlfriend. A strong supporter of Wendy Davis, Mark is one of many new activists who will fight for women's reproductive rights.
At the National Women’s Political Caucus, Mark is a Political Planning & Action Intern. He helped put together the Congressional Host Committee for our EMMAs and read nearly all of the submissions (he says it’s still a work in progress with the books). When Mark isn’t contacting and researching campaigns alongside our other intern Megan, he spends his time reading from various feminist books at the office to give himself a crash course in women’s studies.
When he isn’t fighting alongside NWPC or combating misogynists on the internet, Mark can often be found discussing Star Wars lore with a NOW intern who is also a fellow Star Wars fan. And being a true Texan, he almost never misses watching a Dallas Cowboys or UT football game.
Appointment Update: Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen, Obama’s nomination for the Chair of the Federal Reserve, was approved by the Senate Finance Committee in a 14-8 vote on Thursday, November 21st. Ms. Yellen is the current Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve and will be the first Chairwomen of the Federal Reserve if confirmed. She is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate after a vote takes place shortly after Thanksgiving.
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on her nomination on November 14th, where she reiterated that she would largely continue Ben Bernanke’s policies of quantitative easing and will continue to keep short term interest rates low as long as unemployment remains above 6.5 percent and inflation does not rise above 2.5 percent.
We are proud to announce that our own VP of Political Planning and 1st Vice President Donna Lent won her bid for town clerk! With 59 percent of the vote, Donna easily became the newly elected Brookhaven Town Clerk. She ran as the Republican candidate in this race, with her opponent Democrat Cathy Schatzer receiving 41 percent of the vote. We are extremely proud of the hard work that Donna has put into this race and also into her work for the NWPC. Congratulations, Donna!
NWPC Foundation End of Year Appeal
We are rounding out the first year of our new NWPC Foundation! We have many successes to celebrate as we take a step to ensuring the future of the organization and continuing our fight toward political parity. Please consider donating to become a founding member and jumpstart our efforts to support educational programs and provide grants to our local caucuses.
Donate now and become a founding member today!
Albuquerque Abortion Ban Defeated!
Big news is coming out of Albuquerque, New Mexico after voters struck down a referendum that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The referendum was rejected 55 percent to 45 percent. Albuquerque legislators patterned after other state’s restrictions that suggest after 20 weeks the fetus feels pain. This is the first attempt to restrict abortions on the city level and the fear is that it is not the last. Anti-Choice groups believe that placing heavier restrictions on abortion begins at the local level, and Albuquerque was just the beginning.
In the House of Representatives, both H.J. Res 43 and H.J. Res 56 are gaining momentum. Representative Andrews’s bill H.J. Res 43 which was introduced May 9th with 31 co-sponsors now has 98 co-sponsors. This bill would remove the deadline for ratification of the ERA. Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced H.J. Res 56 on August 8th with 97 co-sponsors, the bill now has 156 co-sponsors. This bill would expressly put women in the U.S. Constitution, adding the sentence “Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.”
On the Senate side, the related bill to H.J. Res 56, S.J. Res 10, introduced by Senator Menendez on March 5th with 10 co-sponsors currently has 15 co-sponsors. The three state strategy bill is doing especially well in the Senate this Congressional session. Senator Cardin’s bill S.J. Res 15, The Senate companion bill to H.J. Res 43, now has 34 co-sponsors from the 20 it received when it was introduced on May 9th.
Dear NWPC Members and Friends,
October and November have been busy months for NWPC, with a very successful Exceptional Merit in Media Awards in New York City, a quarterly Board meeting of NWPC held in conjunction with EMMAs, and other activities of NWPC affiliates across the country. See the EMMAs news in the newsletter, and go online for additional information on EMMA winners, as well as check out the Out and About section to see what other Caucuses have been doing.
At the EMMAs, we had not only a fabulous event, but made great strides for the 2014 EMMAs, as the NBC red carpet personality who served as our emcee for EMMAs, Joelle Garguilo, said she is ready to join us again for next year’s EMMAs, and also Shellie Hunt, of Success is by Design and Women of Global Change, wants to serve again for the EMMAs. Shellie had a car accident that prevented her from attending the event in October, but Christy Carpenter stepped in to substitute onstage to present the EMMA Awards in Shellie’s absence. The New York Host Committee agreed to continue and expand, so we know the EMMAs will grow next year. Long time NWPC supporter, feminist and filmmaker Jen Myronuk joined us for the EMMAs, videoing the entire evening, taking many photos of winners, guests and NWPC Board members, so check out the website for those photos and footage. Jen’s company, Wireframe Pictures, is credited for some wonderful media for the event, and we appreciate her work and generosity for NWPC.
For the Quarterly Board meeting, we also heard from Jen Myronuk in her proposal for doing a collection of NWPC history interviews and videos, something she has done for almost two decades. We will provide additional information as the plans move forward, but I am very enthusiastic about her proposal, as were others who heard and saw her presentation.
I have been traveling again on behalf of Caucus, with two events in Atlanta last week when I spoke at the launch of a new program called Step IT Up America, by UST Global, that will select 100 inner city Atlanta young African American women, provide funds and support for training at a local college there in high tech skills programs, and then hire the graduates to work for UST Global. Some of you met UST Global CEO Sajan Pillai, who was honored as a Good Guy 2013 during our Convention in Austin, and also met UST’s Director of Marketing, Nikki Arora, who has become the most recent addition to the Board of the NWPC Foundation. In the launch lineup of speakers, they had former US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, former mayor of San Francisco and former Speaker for the CA Assembly Willie Brown, NWPC Foundation Founding member Edie Fraser, who is CEO of STEMconnector, and asked me to represent NWPC. Step IT Up America will launch next in Philadelphia and the UST plan is to train and hire 5000 young women across the country. I was thrilled to have Marion Sullivan, former NWPC Board officer and former President for NC NWPC who has moved to Atlanta come join us for the launch—I have enclosed a photo of Marion with Nikki and me.
The second event in Atlanta was a luncheon entitled When Women Succeed America Succeeds Initiative, and I was keynote speaker. Dr. Lei Lewis, CEO of Women of Wealth Magazine, had local sponsors and the event was held at the Westside Cultural Arts Center. One of the purposes of having the event was to showcase NWPC, as Lei and others are working to expand and strengthen efforts in Atlanta, and to become active with local programming there. The event included an art show, vendor booths by women owned businesses, and appearances by numerous arts, music and television professionals who have programming related to women’s issues. Lei also shared that she wants to become involved at the National level, so we will be sharing additional information on Dr. Lewis soon.
During the first week of December, I will be back in DC, first to attend the retirement party for a wonderful friend of feminist efforts, Susan Scanlan, who is retiring from her post as Executive Director for the Women’s Research and Education Institute, which is the policy arm of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues that Susan helped to found. Susan will also step down as Chair of the National Coalition of Women’s Organizations, and there will be big shoes to fill for that role as well. Susan has been an amazing leader for so many initiatives on the national scene, and was the friend who came to provide swearing in for the officers of NWPC during the 2011 Convention, even leaving unexpected house guests while she came to fulfill those duties for us. The party will be held at the Sewall-Belmont House, from 6 to 8 pm. On the 6th, I will be in meetings with federal agency officials related to STEM programming to serve more women, and bring more young women into STEM fields.
Thank you again for all you do to promote women for elected office, and for your work for the Caucus.
We want to thank everyone who helped contribute to the 2013 Exceptional Merit in Media Awards (EMMAs). The evening reception was held at the New York Institute of Technology Auditorium in New York City on October 24th and was a wonderful celebration of media focused on highlighting women's issues.
This year, NWPC received 34 fantastic submissions for the awards. The judges had the difficult task of picking just twelve winners. To learn more about these selections please visit www.nwpc.org/2013emmawinners. We look forward to planning next year's event and hope to see you all there!
Announcing NWPC's first round of endorsements!
Open Seat for MA-05, Katherine Clark
Seat currently held by Keith Rothfus (R)
Katherine Clark is running for Congressional district MA-5, a seat vacated by Ed Markey who successfully ran for US Senate in Massachusetts after John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State.
Katherine Clark is a dedicated public servant. As a current Massachusetts State Senator she knows the ins and outs of politics and will bring her considerable political experience with her when she is elected for the United States House of Representatives.
Katherine Clark is excellent on women’s issues and serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts (Boston). She is critical of the constant extremist attacks on women’s health and equal pay issues, which has distracted us from the most pressing issues facing our country. If elected, Ms. Clark will help reorient the US House to focusing on issues that affect every family – jobs, education, and keeping promises that we made to our seniors and veterans.
Challenger for CA-31, Eloise Reyes
Seat currently held by Bill Posey (R)
Eloise Gomez Reyes is running as a challenger for Congressional district CA-31, a seat currently held by Gary Miller (R).
Eloise Reyes knows the value of hard work. She started working as an onion picker at the age of 12, and paid her way through college and law school working up to three jobs at a time. Her tenacity has led her to become a well-known attorney who fights to protect the rights of workers and their families.
Eloise Reyes is excellent on women’s issues, unlike the current incumbent, Gary Miller. Gary Miller voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and was one of the many Republicans who caused the federal government shutdown earlier this year. As a member of the Tea Party Caucus, Gary Miller is determined to shrink the federal government, and if unsuccessful at that, paralyze it by defunding any program that he does not agree with.
These Congresswomen have stood with us during their time in office and we will stand with them as they prepare to win their elections and serve another term. It is important that we both work to fill the political pipeline as well as support the women currently serving and protecting our rights.
Update: Sexual Violence in the Military
Sen. Kristen Gilibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are at the forefront of the discussion over legislative reforms regarding how the Pentagon deals with sexual assault and rape in the military. There is near-universal agreement among both parties that something must be done, as evidenced by a number of bipartisan cosponsors for each bill and favorable statements from those on the opposite political spectrum such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Sen Gillibrand’s bill, S967, has 11 of the 20 women in Congress as cosponsors.
Current proposals include ending the statute of limitations on cases of sexual assault or rape, stripping the authority of military commanders to overturn jury convictions in those cases, and requiring civilian review of a commander’s decision not to prosecute a sexual assault or rape case if it occurs. The proposal would also make it illegal to retaliate against victims who reported sexual assaults as well as requiring dishonorable discharge to those who are convicted of it.
The most controversial aspect of the pending legislation is that Sen. Gillibrand and her supporters also want to remove all involvement by a military commander in a case of sexual assault or rape and turn it over to special military prosecutors. Critics say that this would add additional cost to a defense budget already being cut and hurt a commander’s ability to affect morale and discipline. Sen. McCaskill does not support Gillibrand’s amendment, saying that the fault lies more often with military prosecutors who fail to prosecute a case rather than an odd commander who overturns a guilty verdict, and wants more stringent civilian review of disagreements between military prosecutors and commanders.
You can write to your Senator in support of this bill at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
The Supreme Court is very selective in the cases that it will take in regards to reproductive rights. Last week, the Supreme Court refused to hear appeals by Oklahoma for a law that would restrict the use of medicine to perform abortions as well as for a law that would require invasive ultrasounds before a doctor can perform an abortion. The Supreme Courts' refusal to hear the cases results in the lower court's verdicts becoming final, both of which found the laws to be unconstitutional.
New abortion laws in Texas require doctors who administer abortions to have hospital admitting privileges within thirty miles from their office, among other restrictions. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, has refused to grant an injunction that would block the bill from taking effect until it has been ruled on. The law is currently going through the 5th Court of Appeals and will have a hearing in January.
Out and About
NWPC-California, LA Westside will hold a reception honoring Karen Bass- November 22 3:30pm to 5:30pm at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Headquarters. This event is hosted by NWPC-CA-LA Westside and Planned Parenthood to honor Karen Bass with the International Family Planning Hero Award. www.nwpclawestside.org
NWPC Metro St. Louis will hold a holiday party on Sunday December 15th 3:00pm at the home of Barbara Fraser at 581 Stratford Ave. in University City. www.mowpc.org
The 2014 Passion Power Progress Awards will be held on Thursday, January 9, 2014 6:00pm to 8:30pm Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, NJ. WPCNJ will be honoring six women and men for their dedication to empowering women. www.wpcnj.org
Seattle's “Honoring the Heroines of the 2013 Campaigns” will be held on Sunday, December 8, 2013 from 3-5pm Gilda’s Club, . Join NWPC-WA for their annual Heroines event to honor the incredible women who managed, powered and championed our endorsed candidates' campaigns! www.wpcnet.org