In exactly three months, residents of the District of Columbia head to the polls to vote in the general election but the historic choice on Nov. 3 will be about much more than the presidential candidates.
DC Women in Politics is organizing to elect the seventh woman to the Council of the District of Columbia, establishing a female majority for the first time.
The women vying for a non-majority-party, at-large seat on the 13-member council are: Claudia Barragan, Christina Henderson, Kathy Henderson, A'Shia Howard, Jeanné Lewis, Mónica Palacio, Marya Pickering, and Ann Wilcox.
“It is women's political participation that will yield change for democracy,” said Anita Shelton, chairwoman of DC Women in Politics. “At a time when the District of Columbia is heavily burdened by the call for social and economic justice for women and people of color as well as the novel coronavirus, women’s natural problem-solving skills and compassion are the dual qualities that make their leadership distinctive.”
Shelton continued: “Those qualities compel women to take on family and community concerns. They have done so numerous times by managing the household budget, strategizing in corporate boardrooms, or helping the local PTA advance its goals. So, it matters when their unique leadership capabilities are also at work in electoral politics.”
A successful bid by any candidate to advance the District of Columbia is also a vote for advancement of a progressive women’s agenda, which includes working to end income inequality, expensive childcare, domestic violence, sexual harassment in the workplace and exorbitant housing costs.
DC Women in Politics has long outlined such issues while training and mentoring women seeking office because they are the issues that burden a woman’s progress.
With deft strategy (centered on its motto: When women vote, women win!) the organization has gained a track record for assisting in the election of women willing to bolster women’s equality.
For example, DC Women in Politics endorsed Brooke Pinto and Janeese Lewis George, who won their primary races on June 2 to represent Ward 2 and Ward 4, respectively. They join a corps of elected leaders who are alumni of DC Women in Politics’ Campaign School, including councilmembers Elissa Silverman and Brianne Nadeau. Also, its Preference Poll winners include Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Mayor Muriel Bowser, and councilmembers Anita Bonds and Mary Cheh.
“A historic election of a seventh woman to the Council of the District of Columbia would bring increased sensitivity to citizen needs, compromise across party lines, and produce a maintainable future,” Shelton said.