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National NOW Times >> Spring 2008  >> Article

Women Running to Win U.S. House Seats Across the Country

By Melody Drnach, NOW Action Vice President
NOW leaders and volunteers helped get-out-the-vote for feminist candidate Donna Edwards, who is favored to win Maryland's 4th District House seat in the November election.  Edwards unseated an entrenched incumbent in the Democratic primary. Pictured, left to right: Rose Afriyie, Denise Lyles, Latifa Lyles, Jenni Smith and Melody Drnach.

NOW leaders and volunteers helped get-out-the-vote for feminist candidate Donna Edwards, who is favored to win Maryland's 4th District House seat in the November election. Edwards unseated an entrenched incumbent in the Democratic primary. Pictured, left to right: Rose Afriyie, Denise Lyles, Latifa Lyles, Jenni Smith and Melody Drnach.

This is an exciting political season, and while many eyes are focused on the race for the White House, NOW's Political Action Committee has been busy interviewing and endorsing nearly 20 strong women who, if elected, will be new faces in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Several NOW PAC endorsed candidates have already won tough primary challenges and are ready to run vigorously in the general election in November. Donna Edwards (Md.-4) unseated an entrenched incumbent, and as a result of her opponent's decision to step down, Edwards is poised to win a special election and take office early.

In California, Jackie Speier won in a special election and will be filling the 12th Congressional District seat of the late Rep. Tom Lantos. "Both Edwards and Speier bring considerable talent, intellect, and progressive values to Washington, D.C., and will be leaders on the issues that are important to our members," said Kim Gandy, NOW PAC Chair.

NOW PAC's endorsed candidates include in their priorities: universal health care, ending the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home safely, creating more and better jobs, increasing opportunities for women and girls, preserving women's reproductive health options, and a strong desire to pave the way for other women to run for office, just to name a few.

In this election season, the field of endorsed candidates includes many women who have achieved noteworthy firsts in their professional and civic life. For example, Diane Benson became Alaska's first female union concrete-mixer driver; Kay Barnes of Missouri was elected as the first female mayor of Kansas City; and Joan Fitz-Gerald was the first woman president of the Colorado State Senate. "These women who challenged the status quo and were successful will not be intimidated once they get to Capitol Hill. They will be leaders who change the way business is done in Washington, D.C., and women and families will be the beneficiaries," said Gandy.

Congressional candidates who have come close in previous elections, including Mary Jo Kilroy and Victoria Wulsin in Ohio, and Judy Feder in Virginia, while other women are in their first congressional contest, like Alabama NOW President Cheryl Sabel.

In these and many other contests, NOW activists are volunteering their time and energy to boost feminist candidates' chances of winning in the fall. The NOW PAC list of endorsed candidates will continue to grow as we re-endorse those incumbents who have been working hard in the 110th Congress. There are even several states where feminist candidates still have time to file, run, and win. Visit NOW PAC's website for the growing list of endorsed candidates and get involved.

You can find the full list of endorsements and more about the 2008 elections on our NOW PAC site.

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