When Women Succeed – Election Edition

It’s Election Day! (Find your polling place here). Across the nation, key races will determine the direction of our nation for at least the next two years. When the dust clears, will the Republicans wrest control of the Senate or will the Democrats hang on? It all comes down to turnout.

The issue of turnout was just one of several topics covered in last week’s Women Succeed event, sponsored by WLPPD and GPAC. Congressmember Karen Bass served as our keynote speaker, encouraging a dynamic conversation with Price students about female representation, voter engagement, and leadership.

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Congressmember Karen Bass has represented USC and surrounding parts of Los Angeles since she was first elected in 2010. Prior to her election to Congress, she served as Speaker of the California Assembly. Before that, she ran the Community Coalition, a community-based social justice organization in South Los Angeles.

Her experience in politics has taught her a thing or two about women in politics. Congressmember Bass lamented the imbalance between men and women in the House (out of 435 representatives, just 79 are women). She noted that one of the challenges for women is that they have a hard time fundraising, a trend she observed firsthand while Speaker of the Assembly. She argued that one way to ensure female representation is for female elected officials to cultivate candidates to replace them. Congressmember Bass was encouraged to run by former Congressmember Diane Watson and, in turn, has  supported State Senator Holly Mitchell. This kind of mentorship can help ensure female candidates run and get elected.

Congressmember Bass1

As for this election, Congressmember Bass observed that, unlike last cycle, women’s issues have not been at the forefront of most races. One exception has been in Colorado, where Senator Mark Udall has tried to make women’s issues front and center. Unfortunately, that relentless focus seems to have backfired. That race is considered a toss-up, with the latest polls showing Udall’s opponent, Cory Gardner, ahead but within the margin of error.

A sincere thanks to Congressmember Karen Bass for joining WLPPD and GPAC for a discussion of women in politics. We don’t know about you, but we’ll be watching closely to see how the elections today play out!

Congressmember Bass2

P.S. While we’ve focused here on national races, John Oliver has a few reasons why you should definitely not overlook elections for state legislature either. 

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