Letter from the Executive Director
2018 is already shaping up to be a huge year for electing pro-choice women to public office and at womenwinning, we’ve hit the ground running. In early January, we welcomed a new Political Director, Jillia Pessenda, and new Director of Advancement, Liz Young, to the team. Jillia and Liz both bring extensive experience in Minnesota politics, development, and communications and we are thrilled to have them on board.
Barely a week into Jillia and Liz’s tenures, we hosted more than 100 people at Tina Smith’s first Minnesota fundraiser as a candidate for U.S. Senate. The next week, we hosted one of our largest Power Happy Hour young professional networking events to date. Earlier this month, we endorsed two strong, pro-choice women leaders, Karla Bigham and Melissa Wagner, running in the February 12th Special Election, and just last night, we hosted a successful phone bank for them. And there is plenty more on the calendar in the weeks ahead!
We know that with six statewide races (including the Governor and two U.S. Senators), as well as key congressional, state, and local races on the ballot in 2018, the stakes in Minnesota are incredibly high. Hundreds of women have stepped up to run for office and now it is up to all of us to stay engaged, work hard, and help them win. So check out our upcoming events (below) and get involved! Stand up, sign up, and show up this year to help our candidates cross the finish line and change the face of power.
Candidate Spotlight - Kelsey Waits, Hastings School Board
"For me, the hardest part about running for School Board in Hastings this past fall was filing to run. Although there are no official qualifications needed for School Board, I still found ways to convince myself that I was not qualified to hold an elected office. And like many women, I was not going to apply for a job unless I was 100% qualified. The last day of filing, without thinking twice, I went to our district office and filed my paperwork. It was the best decision that I could have made. At that point, I was committed and immediately gave 100% to the campaign, applying for three separate endorsements that very night.
In a city where they joke that you are only truly from Hastings if your family has been here for at least three generations, I knew that my short four years as a resident would be difficult to overcome. The fact that one of my children is homeschooled only added to that level of difficulty. I knew that this was going to be a tough race and that I was going to need to work hard every step of the way. When I received my endorsement letter from womenwinning, I was beyond elated. Knowing that this amazing group was willing to not only endorse me, but financially support me as well, filled me with immeasurable confidence.
The financial support that womenwinning provided made a huge difference. I was able to buy more campaign materials, pay for more ads, and more effectively reach voters. They were also there to reach out to whenever I had campaign questions or needed help working on literature design. I felt very supported by womenwinning and I am very excited to work with them again on future campaigns."
Keep up with Kelsey’s work on the Hastings School Board by visiting her Facebook page.
1. Visit Karla Bigham and Melissa Wagner's Facebook pages for information about volunteering at an upcoming door knock or phone bank! Get some fresh air and talk to folks about why we need these strong pro-choice women leaders at the Capitol!
2. Caucus for pro-choice women in your district on February 6th! Use the Secretary of State’s new Caucus Finder to find your Precinct Caucus location.
3. Encourage the young women you know to apply for our Political Leaders of Tomorrow Internship Program! Participants will attend three in-depth training sessions where they’ll develop skills and gain tools important for successful campaign work. womenwinning will help interns get connected to the campaign of a pro-choice woman running in their area. Applications are due on April 30, 2018.
Make your mark on 2018 by joining Team womenwinning at an upcoming event!
Wine, Chocolate & Choice – Tuesday, February 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
womenwinning for Amy Klobuchar – Sunday, February 25, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Muslim Women Strong: 2018 Women's Leadership Conference sponsored by womenwinning
– Saturday, March 3, 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
LAUNCH Power Happy Hour – Wednesday, March 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m.