Anyone who was up after midnight on the East Coast Tuesday might have noticed a stream of tweets with the hashtag #StandwithWendy. At first I wasn’t going to tune in. It was after midnight and I knew I had a long day Wednesday. But after reading several tweets (shout out to @jennpozner & @veronicaeye) I decided to check out the livestream of what was going on.
1 – The importance of knowing Robert’s Rules of Order and/or the Rules of Procedure for an organization.
When you know the rules, you can utilize them to your advantage even when other things look to not be going in your favor. For example, when I was in college during a Model United Nations conference I was able to table the discussion of a resolution — that was basically creating something that was already created — because I understood the rules and used them to my advantage in time of disadvantage. Read Robert’s Rules here.
2 – The Importance of Local Government
I admit national office is kinda sexy. There are only 100 U.S. Senators and they get to do things like confirm Cabinet Secretaries and Supreme Court Justices (hello section four of the VRA). However, many of the decisions that effect citizens on a day-to-day basis are decided in State Legislatures, like in Texas last night, or even in City and County councils. Yet, these are the elections and debates that many pay little attention to until its too late. Even I admit that I know very little about my local representatives and I study Political Science. But every thing from schools, to roads, to business in town are decided at the local level. Therefore, don’t forget to vote in elections not during Presidential years. I know that in New Jersey you can have it set up that the Department of Elections will mail you your ballot for every election.
3 – Diversity, of any kind, is important in Government
One of the best things about the filibuster from last night is the fact that voices that would have otherwise not been heard got heard. Adding women or people of color or people making less than six-figures to government brings new perspectives to political debates. Just check out the influence of the increase of women on the U.S. Senate Armed Services committee. I don’t know Texas politics but I am assuming that there is a large portion of representatives in their chambers that have been supported by a small list of special interests. Adding diversity to government, fights against special interests as well as one of the things that our founding fathers were most afraid of and that’s tyranny of the majority.
4 – Run, Ask someone to Run, Support someone who’s Running, Vote in a Local Election
Words and information and theories are great but very few things beat the power of action. So follow the directions of the header above 🙂 And here are some great ways that you can do so:
Running Start introduces the idea of running for office to High School young women. They also help young women gain key political experience by supporting them through an internship on Capitol Hill.
Ready to Run is a political training/seminar for women who are either running for office or are considering running for office. Workshops include advise from successful women candidates, tips on media and strategy from top political experts and networking with other women working in politics at the local level.
The Political Institute for Women is a place where women can be trained to be more effective community advocates, run for office as well as to work in political jobs. They have Conferences and Seminars all over the country as well as online. Their Washington D.C. Conference is this September!
The Yale Campaign School is a place I personally dream about going. Someday I am going to save and fundraise to go. But this school is an intensive one week training for women to learn about politics. For women to receive tools to run for office and be effective office holders.
The above resources have been focused on training women to run and while we need more women to run we also need people to support diversity candidates like women so below are three places to donate monies to help more women get elected to office.
Emily’s List is, in short, the organization that started it all. Started over twenty-five years ago Emily’s List works to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. Name a Democratic woman who has been elected to national office over the last twenty-eight years and chances are they received some form of assistance from this organization. Emily’s List also has a great training program for women interested in becoming campaign managers.
Wish List, is a moderate Republican response to the success of Emily’s List. The Wish List project of the Republican Majority for Choice supports Republican women running for office who are pro-choice. This project also works to protect women’s reproductive rights from extremists groups on either side of the debate.
WUFPAC or the Women Under Forty Political Action Committee works to support younger women to run for political party. This bi-partisan organization offers campaign support as well as opportunities for networking at events throughout the year.