Wednesday, December 29, 2004

letter to ellen malcolm

dear ellen:

yes, i have made my new year's resolution to help widen the pool of good women running for congress and state legislatures, especially for OPEN
SEATS! as you may know, howard dean has embraced the "Every OPEN SEAT A Women's Seat" strategy and hopefully more political leaders will also join in on making sure women are recruited and supported for OPEN SEATS till we catch up. of course, we must also continue to work and organize on every other front to get more women elected.

i personally will continue to give directly to womens' campaigns, as i
continue to feel that this is most effective. however, i am ever open to
learning more about the depth of the work by emily's list to get more women
into the mix. i was disappointed that your list of "recommended candidates"
included only about 18 women for federal office in 2004. we cannot get more elected by supporting fewer and following the democratic party's deselection process based on $$$ raised before a candidate can be embraced -- this only contributes to our ending up with tiny incremental change each cycle and our ranking of #61 in the world for electing women to congress/parliament.

so I really hope that your organization in its 20th year will return more
to its roots of "early money is like yeast" -- and in your recruitment
especially reach out to those women who ran for Congress in 2004 without
primetime help, but who worked so hard to promote our progressive values in states like montana, ohio and florida. many did remarkable well even if they did not win this time. i also really hope that you will abandon the strategy of "electing democrats" and focus only on many more women's campaigns.

in the meantime, i wish you the very best in 2005 as we work together to
elect more women and achieve gender balance in congress. 50/50 by 2020 -- i
think we can do it if we all pull together with that goal in mind!

best always,
paula xanthopoulou

Friday, December 17, 2004

gov. dean's response!

This is a great idea. Interestingly, of the DFA candidates who won, 20 are women and 13 men! Keep in touch, and, yes, we will have an outreach like this at the DNC.

Howard Dean

open letter to howard dean

governor dean:

like many americans, i was energized by your remarks last week at gw university -- and continue to believe that you understand more than most political leaders the meaning of GRASSROOTS and not allowing "corporate politics" (party or otherwise) continue to undermine our democracy. in addition, there are serious ongoing concerns regarding the lack of gender balance at all levels of government, especially in congress where women hold barely 15% of the seats in both houses. can there be true democracy without many more women, since women make up nearly 52% of our population?

this is why carol moseley braun and i have made every effort to forward the "Every OPEN SEAT A Woman's Seat" strategy for electing more women -- a real commitment to recruiting and supporting women for OPEN SEATS so that electing women to Congress and all along the pipeline can be accelerated. (this concept, i might add, that was not acceptable in any shape or form by the those who controlled the 2004 democratic platform committee.)

in working with DFA this past year, i know that a concerted effort was made to add women to your list -- i think women made up about 44% in the end. thank you for those past efforts!

we must, however, continue to make every effort to get even more women into the mix so that the wide margins that make the united states #61 in the world for electing women to congress/parliament can be narrowed. many countries have moved far ahead of us because visionary political leaders have employed concrete strategies to make it happen -- instead of just giving lip service to equal representation for women, but then going along with the status quo. actually, the election of women to some state legislatures has gone backward!

you are such a visionary leader, i believe -- so today I would ask you embrace the "Every OPEN SEAT A Woman's Seat" strategy in your future DFA efforts to help recruit and support candidates at every level, and also add it to your "platform" for being elected chairperson of the democratic national committee. we have gone far too long not taking specific steps to make equal representation a reality.

additionally, studies have shown that elected women have changed government for the better -- and there can be no doubt that taking advantage of the perspectives/skills women have to offer will lead to a "better, stronger, safer, healthier america" sooner rather than later.

i look forward very much to your response. in the meantime, happy holidays!

paula xanthopoulou

PS: you might be interested in reviewing my own thoughts
( a new way to look at electing women to congress --
also no blue states or red states, actually no states at all!