Women's Caucus News

TWO WOMEN COMPETING FOR 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON STATE

by Jude Siefker, Den Haag

This congressional race shows just how far women have come in recent years in seeking political office. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane has represented the 5th Congressional District of Washington State since 2005. In this strongly Republican slice of Eastern Washington (Trump won by 13 points), she has never had to worry about re-election. This assurance has allowed her to rise to the rank of the top woman Republican in the House and the fourth ranked Republican overall. But, this year, she is faced with tough competition from Democrat Lisa Brown. In an open primary, held August 7, 2018, McMorris Rodgers received 47.8% of the vote to Brown’s 46.8%.

Brown has never held national elected office but is an economist, a Washington State University professor and was the State Senate Majority  Leader. In the very rural 5th District, she is campaigning on a number of issues that appeal to farmers. One area of concern is the impact of the current administration policies on farmers. Tariffs are especially unpopular as is the administration’s withdrawal from multilateral trade agreements. Congress has also failed to pass a bipartisan farm bill. To compensate for the economic impact that all of these factors are having on farmers, the Department of Agriculture has proposed a short-term aid package. This is also unpopular with farmers because they prefer to have continued trade rather than a bailout. Due to both tariffs and weather conditions, farm income is projected to be the lowest in 12 years.

To date, Brown has run her campaign on promoting better legislation for Congress to help farmers. She believes that Congress should encourage bipartisanship to maintain healthy trade relationships that have taken many years to develop. Although Trump has been instrumental in imposing tariffs that are ruinous for both farmers and manufacturers in Washington State, in reality, the Constitution defines the enactment of tariffs to be a role of Congress, not the executive branch. Brown seeks to return this role to Congress.

Another important issue in Brown’s campaign is Congress’s many attempts to repeal Obamacare. This is especially significant in the rural area that she seeks to represent because many farmers, being self employed, cannot afford traditional medical insurance. In addition, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is projected to cause many small, rural hospitals to have to close. This could be disastrous for rural areas that already tend to be under served  by existing medical centers. Brown’s campaign focuses on fixing Obamacare and other factors that diminish medical care in rural areas.

McMorris Rodgers, of course, supports the policies that are diminishing Trump’s popularity with the major base in her district—farmers.
The record shows that she has backed his agenda 97.6 % of the time. Despite Trump’s growing unpopularity, McMorris Rodgers has the advantage in fund raising. She started with money left over from her 2016 campaign and has raised $3.7 million to Brown’s $2.2 million. Much of her war chest has been the result of Citizens United.

Despite McMorris Rodgers’ obvious financial advantage, Brown is  expected to stay in close competition if not to pull ahead as Election Day nears. Both are expected to focus on trade deals and tariffs because Washington is purported to be the most trade dependent state with 40% of jobs being dependent on trade. Because of her record of supporting Trump’s policies, voters may not trust McMorris Rodgers to take any effective action to bolster trade. This should give Lisa Brown a definite edge.

+

Meet Mary Barzee Flores, Florida Congressional Candidate

Democrats Abroad will be talking online with Florida Congressional candidate Mary Barzee Flores on Tuesday August 28th at 1:30 p.m Eastern. RSVP for the call to get the link right here

And read on to learn more about her! 

by Clara Dessaint

A Miami native and dedicated public servant, Mary Barzee Flores is running for Congress in Florida’s 25th District. As an economic opportunity promoter and pro-choice healthcare advocate, Mary is espousing an inclusive progressive platform, with priorities ranging from gun violence and criminal justice reform to immigration and education.

Mary’s experience is as varied as her focus areas. After obtaining her Bachelors in music at the University of Miami, Mary pivoted to social justice, earning her JD at her alma mater’s School of Law. A brief stint in private practice then led to a 12-year career in Miami’s Federal Office of the Public Defender.

In 2002, Mary ran for an open judgeship on the Florida Circuit Court and was elected without opposition. After an 8-year tenure, which saw her preside over more than 100 jury trials and a dozen bench trials, Mary retired from the court and returned to private practice.

In 2015, President Obama nominated Mary to serve as federal district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Despite having recommended her himself, Marco Rubio blocked Mary’s nomination and she was never even given a Senate hearing.

A proven champion for South Florida working families, Mary lives in Coral Gables with her husband and their two children.

Visit her website here


+

Finding the Final Stage of Political Grief: Hope

By Clara Dessaint

clara_2.jpg

Being a Democrat Abroad since November 8th, 2016 has not been easy. In the oft-described time warp brought on by the Trump administration, the day Hillary Clinton came so very close to shattering the glass ceiling – one she had been steadfastly making fissures in for decades – feels like both yesterday and light years away.

Much has happened in American politics since her magnanimous concession speech, most of it twisting the United States into a purveyor of discord rather than a bastion of freedom, acceptance and opportunity. Coming to terms with it all has been a true grieving progress but, fitting with our new distorted reality, the stages of grief have been anything but linear.

Denial rolled in fast and, no doubt emboldened by distance, took months to recede, marrying itself nicely with bargaining. From “of course Jill Stein’s recount efforts will rectify this madness” to “the Electoral College will vote its conscience instead of its party” every possible, overly idealistic ‘out’ was nurtured.

Anger and its partner-in-crime depression followed in unrelenting waves. When the Muslim ban was issued and then more recently ratified by the Supreme Court. When migrant children were heartlessly separated from their parents at the border and sent into a gratuitous and cruel bureaucratic limbo that has yet to be untangled. When the Trump administration attempted to water down a World Health Organization resolution on breastfeeding to benefit formula companies and now seems poised to further limit women’s choices over their bodies through another Supreme Court appointment…

Emotional-tsunami-inducing CNN notifications are too many to list and too complex to neatly box into Kubler-Ross’ model for loss. Indeed, political grief is a no man’s land of its own, where fear, embarrassment and bewilderment co-mingle with the jumbled first four stages while the fifth – acceptance – oftentimes seems completely out of the question.

Somehow though, even as each week in the Trump White House is deemed worse than the previous, hope – the message that brought President Obama to victory twice and which he recently reminded Democrats to espouse – is omnipresent.

There is hope in the grassroots primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in the historically unparalleled number of women running for office, and in the slow but steady indictments emerging from Robert Mueller’s office. There is hope too in late-night hosts’ marked dedication to calling out, however humorously, Trump’s travesties as they occur and in the brilliantly biting words of NY Times columnist Charles Blow and Pod Save America host Jon Favreau, to name but a few. From the Women’s March to the March for Our Lives and the Families Belong Together rallies, there is hope in the international activism that most recently floated a Baby Trump above Parliament Square and thereby dissuaded the man himself from visiting London.

Essentially, there is hope in the People’s ability – around the world and across all demographics – to speak truth to power, to take to the streets and phone lines alike to demand better. Let’s keep post offices abroad busy this November and vote out those who don’t listen.

Photos taken at the London Women’s March on January 21st, 2017. 


STOP BRET KAVANAUGH’S SUPREME COURT NOMINATION

In the midst of recent political shock waves, Donald Trump’s abhorrent choice of Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh seems to have slipped way down in our priorities and is beginning to sound like a fait accompli. We can’t lower our guard!

Kavanaugh is the enemy of everything we stand for as women (and men). And yet swing vote Republican Susan Collins – who knows better - says he’s “clearly qualified.” Kavanaugh’s record is disturbing: enemy of Roe v. Wade, unions, environment, affordable care, and against US presidents being subject to criminal investigation while in office.

Trump should not be allowed to choose a Supreme Court justice until Mueller clears him.

Tell this to your Senators and be sure to call Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), 202-224-6665 and Susan Collins (Maine) 202-224-2523 who could prevent the nomination from getting through the Senate. Both women Senators sound like they’re caving and need to be contacted.
Keep saying No to this outrage.

+

Women to watch: Katie Porter for California's 45th Congressional District!

“In Congress, I will always protect a woman's right to choose and fight any efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

Katie Porter is the Democratic candidate running against incumbent Republican Mimi Walters to represent CA's 45th District. This Orange County district voted for Clinton over Trump in 2016, and is considered competitive by pundits. WNDC members, this is a great chance to flip a Republican district!

Porter is a consumer protection attorney and UC Irvine law professor who is endorsed by Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, among others. Her top priorities include Medicare for All, woman's right to choose, an assault weapons ban, and repealing the 2017 tax giveaway to corporations and the wealthy. She has extensive experience in state government, including obtaining relief for Orange County homeowners whose mortgages were underwater after the 2008 financial crisis. She has three young children, and serves as Cubmaster to her son's scout pack.

Porter's opponent Walters is not moderate, but rather fully supports Trump's radical agenda. The Republicans will spend any amount to try to keep the 45th red. As a result, Porter will need our help to flip the 45th. We encourage you to learn about Porter at her campaign website

+

An Evening with Rebecca Solnit

by Kelsey Mc Lendon

In a crowded room at the Literaturhaus in Stuttgart, Germany, members of the Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus gathered with about 180 people to listen to Rebecca Solnit perform readings of her newest book, a collection of essays titled, The Mother of All Questions, and answer questions about literature, activism, and the future of American politics.

Solnit’s book begins by challenging the notion that a woman’s capacity is limited solely to childbearing rather than creations of the mind. Recalling a talk she gave on Virginia Woolf, Solnit described how the line of questioning quickly turned to reasons for why Woolf didn’t procreate instead of focusing on what she did create—her exceptional written work. In fact, one of the things Woolf famously wrote about was dismantling expectations for women to be the “Angel in the House.” Nearly 90 years later, women continue fighting against this ideal, and Solnit’s book argues that we must refuse questions that attempt to define what it means to be a woman. Instead, Solnit says, we must reject simple answers and embrace the unknown.

When reflecting on the literary canon, Solnit remarked that a book without a single woman in it is about humanity, but a book with a woman protagonist is a “woman’s book.” Knowing that we learn to imagine the world from the literature we read, it’s no wonder that straight, white men in particular often cannot imagine themselves as anyone else—they’ve never had to do so. In this way, diverse stories have never been more important because they provide us with different lenses through which to view the world and invite questions about whose stories are being told. Thanks to literary giants of the past like Woolf, James Baldwin, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and so many others, we’ve seen an explosion of diverse literature in the past few decades that asks all readers to listen and reimagine the world.

In conjunction with examining whose stories are told, Solnit’s book also prompts readers to consider silence—specifically, who has been silenced historically and currently. Perhaps the loudest breaking of that silence recently has been the #MeToo movement. While it seems like #MeToo was a sudden wave of unleashed stories, unprecedented support for those stories, and demands of accountability, Solnit reminds us that #MeToo was a culmination of previous, long-term efforts of women (often women of color) speaking out. As demonstrated in the #MeToo movement, stories grant the previously silenced the ability to be heard and grant everyone else opportunities to broaden their perspectives.

Placing these notions of silence, stories, and listening in context with the larger political climate, Solnit urged the audience to remember that elections are the bedrock of democracy but daily actions are what preserve it. If we are to recover from the Trump presidency, it is imperative that we read about the past, listen to each other’s stories, and, as Rep. John Lewis has said, make “good trouble, necessary trouble.” November is still far off, and we must work every day to defend our basic rights and democratic values. Referencing an article in The Guardian, Solnit stated that historical studies suggest it only takes 3.5% of a country’s population (about 11 million people in the U.S.) to topple an unpopular regime through sustained nonviolent opposition.

Solnit announced that an upcoming campaign to impeach Trump will be starting soon.

The Women’s Caucus international book club, Books Abroad, will discuss The Mother of All Questions at our next meeting on Sunday, October 21. Please join in!

Below is a list of readings that Solnit referenced throughout the evening:

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

The writings of Subcomandante Marcos

“Peculiar Benefits” by Roxana Gay

Healing from Hate: How Young Men Get Into―and Out of―Violent Extremism by Michael Kimmel

“It may only take 3.5% of the population to topple a dictator – with civil resistance” by Erica Chenoweth

+

Global Women's Caucus 2018 Summer Newsletter

Thank you for reading our DA Global Women’s Caucus Summer Newsletter.

We are all very excited about the work we have been doing since our last newsletter and the work yet to come, so here is our update.

FIRST: THE ADMINISTRATION'S IMMIGRATION POLICY

We, as parents, children and human beings, are appalled and revolted by the current Administration’s policy. First it was the separation of children from their immigrant parents. Now he intends to incarcerate families together but indefinitely.  This is an abhorrent and a blatant violation of human rights. All of us in our Country Chapters and our Women’s Caucuses are organizing events to protest this inhuman policy. Please make your voices heard. And do check out the Democrats Abroad information on this issue.

NEXT: The Mid-Terms

GWC1c.png

We encourage all our members worldwide to form DA Women’s Caucuses in their countries and cities and plan events, particularly Get Out the Vote (GOTV) events. If you need help and ideas on how to do this, visit our GWC page.

Read more

Families Belong Together!

The Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus (DA GWC) - as women and mothers- and human beings are appalled and revolted by the current Administration’s policy of separating children from their immigrant parents. It is abhorrent and a blatant violation of human rights. All of us in our Country Chapters and our Women’s Caucuses are organizing events to protest this inhuman policy. Please make your voices heard. And do visit the Democrats Abroad link on this issue at http://www.democratsabroad.org/keep_families_together

+

Women’s Caucus Chair for Germany is Now Online!

Portrait_Cummings-Koether_(1).JPG

I’m Michelle Cummings-Koether, and I am the new Women’s Caucus Chair for Germany. I am here to help coordinate Women’s topics and events in Germany, and to try to place a focus on important Women’s topics for Democrats Abroad. I look forward to working with the various Chapters and Precincts in Germany, to help keep a bright light on topics that affect Women in the United States.

A little about myself. I was born in the US and have spent my life traveling between the US and Germany. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now live in Munich. When I am not fighting for Women’s topics, I work as an interculturalist, consulting American and European companies on how to work together. I also teach intercultural topics at three universities in Munich and Augsburg. To help me regain footing and to help me keep focused, I hang out with my dog while she works as a therapy assistant dog with disabled kids.

I would also like to announce that the Women’s Caucus will be holding the Germany Women's Caucus Workshop (Open to Democrats Abroad Worldwide) on September 22nd in Berlin. With the theme “refocus, revisit, resist & re-empower” we will hold an all day event followed by dinner. This event will be open to all DA members worldwide. Please RSVP today. More details to follow.

I am looking forward to this new opportunity and the challenges that will arise. As my consultancy takes me all across Germany, I hope to meet with some of the Chapters personally soon. If you need to reach me, my email is [email protected]


WHEN WOMEN WIN ELECTIONS, WOMEN WIN

By: Meghan Feeks

May was a huge month for Democratic women. Primaries in 11 states and a runoff in Texas advanced women to the general election throughout the country, bringing the total number of female Democratic nominees for Senate, House and governor so far to 67 (Republicans have nominated another 11).

With an unprecedented number of women running for national office this year — and many more still running for state and local office — women candidates (particularly Democrats) are on track to smash records in 2018. But it’s not just the number of women that’s making history: in Georgia, Stacey Abrams became America’s first-ever black, female nominee for governor. In Kentucky’s 6thdistrict, Democrats handed the congressional nomination to Amy McGrath, the first female marine to fly an F-18 fighter jet in combat.

Meanwhile, Texas Democrats nominated two women who could also make history: if elected, Gina Ortiz Jones would become the first woman, lesbian, Iraq war veteran and Filipina-American to represent her state’s 23rd district in Congress. And Lupe Valdez, the Democratic nominee for governor, could become the first openly gay, Latina governor of the Lone Star State.

An urgent need

With hundreds of Democratic women still in the running for national and state office, the number of women on the ballot in November is set to continue growing. But just as May brought hope of seeing greater and more diverse representation of women in government, it also brought painful reminders of how urgently it’s needed.

As we celebrated Mother’s Day, American moms still faced zero guarantee of maternity leave, while earning just 71 cents on the dollar of working dads.

As Ireland voted to overturn its constitutional abortion ban, the Trump administration announced a domestic “gag rule” that would cut funding for any healthcare provider that offers abortions — or even information about how and where to obtain one.

In Santa Fe and Noblesville, two school shootings (the 22nd and 23rd school shootings this year) once again laid bare America’s gun violence problem — an issue that disproportionately affects women and particularly women of color.

In New York City, the arrest of film director Harvey Weinstein on rape charges represented one baby step on a long and grueling path to justice for the 1-in-6 American women who have survived sexual assault, and the 81% of women who have experienced sexual harassment.

Heading into Pride Month, we recognize the significant obstacles still facing the LGBTQ community following its deadliest year ever in the US, with transgender women accounting for 72% of anti-LGBTQ homicides.

And on the heels of Memorial Day, as we remember the American ideals our fallen heroes died defending, we also remember that it’s up to all of us — regardless of gender, race, class or creed — to fight, every day, to ensure their sacrifice was not in vain.

Putting women in their place

These are just a handful of the reasons we need more women in government, especially in a Congress where men still outnumber women 4-to-1. For when women win elections, all women win: research shows that women politicians push much harder for policies that support women and children or address issues like education, health, poverty and civil rights. Women are also much more likely to support gun control, and when it comes to working across the aisle, they also tend to be more collaborative and bipartisan.

With many women Democratic nominees facing tough odds in their races this fall, the DAUK Women’s Caucus is determined to help as many as possible make it over the finish line. To this end, we will be working with the Global Women’s Caucus to highlight and mobilize support for Democratic women who are heading to the general election.

We invite women (and likeminded allies) everywhere to join our cause — for behind every powerful woman, there must be a whole tribe of other powerful women who have her back.

Early support is critical to ensure these candidates can put their funding and resources to the best possible use, so we urge you to find the female candidate you like best, and get behind her in any way that you can — whether it’s through donations, phone-banking, postcard-writing or simply talking to your friends and family about why you support her.

For real-time status updates on all women candidates running for US Congress and statewide elected executive, check out the summary and complete list maintained by Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics.

To learn more about and support pro-choice female candidates, visit EMILY’s List.

+