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Double-Latte Project December 2011 – Emily’s List

This month’s Double-Latte selection is EMILY’s List otherwise known as Early Money Is Like Yeast List.

Why EMILY’s List

Unfortunately, the role of money in campaigns has increased dramatically and causes the accessibility to running for electoral office to be contingent on the access to millions of dollars, especially at the national level. To assist in the need, political parties and organizations called Political Action Committees (PACs) were created to collect funds to support candidates around issues or group membership. When discussing PACs who fundraise based on “Women’s Issues” and their influence on the trajectory of women politicians in United States politics, EMILY’s List is a positive catalyst.

In their twenty-six years of existence, EMILY’s List has raised almost $83,000,000 dollars for female Democratic candidates and their successful formula has been duplicated and imitated on various levels across the United States. Some examples of PACs that have developed from the EMILY’s List model are The Wish List and Maggie’s List, more obvious adaptations, as well as  Women Campaign Fund PAC and WUFPAC (Women Under Forty PAC), their Emily List influence is not as obvious.

Additionally, EMILY’s List has been central to the election of several influential female politicians in the United States such as Hillary Clinton, Debbie Stabenow and Maria Cantwell, who are listed in the photo above, as well as Claire McCaskill, Patty Murray and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. With the 2012 election cycle less than a year away, EMILY’s List’s work will be an important factor in ensuring that key Democratic women incumbents are re-elected and new Democratic challengers are elected.

In summation, the influence of EMILY’s List is wide spread and the continuance of their mission and the broader mission of increasing the number of women in electoral office is needed in the current US Campaign climate which is why EMILY’s List is this month’s Double-Latte Selection.

About Emily’s List

According to their official website:

EMILY’s List is dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.

EMILY’s List chooses to do this in several ways. One way is by the way I shared above, fundraising for pro-Choice Democratic female candidates running for electoral office. Another way is by training women to work on political campaigns through their Training Program & Job Bank. An additional way is by mobilizing women voters through their Women Vote! project which through research, information technology and grassroots mobilization works to increase the number of women going to the polls on election day.

EMILY’s List & Importance of the 2012 Election for Women in Politics

As shared on the website of Double-Latte Selection The 2012 Project, the 2012 election cycle is a unique opportunity that only comes once a decade for women to make gains in their representation in electoral politics.

Basically, elections ending in two i.e., 1992, 2002, 2012 are the first elections that reflect new representative districts based on the updated US Census numbers. Because of the re-drawing and shaping of electoral districts nationally and locally that happens in this process, new seats are created that create an opportunity for women and other underrepresented groups to enter into US politics (the US has a severe incumbency problem e.g. once elected many politicians can stay in office until death like Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd).

Where EMILY’s List, for me, comes into the picture with the importance of the 2012 Election cycle is two fold. One, EMILY’s List provides key funds for female political incumbents to stay in office and continue their work as well as gives opportunity for newcomers in key races. Two, EMILY’s List through their training program increases the probability that quality campaign workers can work with female candidates who are either new to running for office or represent key races on national and local levels.

In a time where “women’s issues” like birth control coverage by insurance companies and a women’s right to choose are being debated to overturn, shouldn’t our nation’s legislative bodies descriptively be represented by the effected constituency group i.e., women? No matter where you fall in the above debates the importance of the voices of the group most directly affected by these debate outcomes are important  from either side of the isle. Yet even though women are fifty percent of the US population they make up no more than twenty-four percent of the representation in legislative bodies nationally and state-wide.

And this is why EMILY’s List is important for the 2012 Election cycle. Their campaign contributions combined with their political training of women to work on campaigns combined with their mobilization of women voters will help assure that gains are made to make US Legislatures nationally and state-wide more reflective of its 50/50 population.

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