Don't forget women on ballot


To the editor:

With Elizabeth Warren out, our mandate to elect and support women running for local office is evermore important.

Warren’s ambition and imagination sparked an endless sense of possibility for me. She grounded her experience as a working mom to build a space for our voices in government.

While I am surely not alone in my heartbreak over her campaign’s suspension, I hope that more of us find that spark we need to fight hard for the values we believe in. We can’t accept her decision to drop out as an indication of our failure as women to lead, or inability to win elections.

I am disappointed that so many of us fell into the highly gendered electability trap — the notion that because we haven’t seen a woman in the White House means the likelihood of her success is virtually impossible.

With the race for the Democratic nomination between two septuagenarian white men, it seems clear to me that the staleness of the national Democratic Party can no longer reasonably serve as our compass for any sense of political ambition. It’s on us — as neighbors, as citizens of cities, towns and municipalities — to take up the mantle of what’s possible, and drive widespread political change — and courage — leaving Tom Perez’s party behind.

We can all muse about how the most diverse political field of Democratic hopefuls disintegrated into an uninspiring field of men who feel entitled to my vote because I check all the demographic boxes (millennial, Latina, mom). But the truth is, many of us don’t see ourselves or our deepest aspirations in these men. So where does this leave us?

Women in my family have long advised me, “Don’t build your life around a man.” Funny enough, this advice seems to ring clearly as a new praxis for politics. In 2020, all of us need to recommit ourselves to politics, despite the temptation to check out. We do this by investing in local women leaders who represent the best of us — those fighting for paid family leave, equitable education, housing justice, accessible and inclusive public transportation, and stronger unions.

We should be looking to those who have been looked over by traditional power structures and ask, “What support do you need to be successful?”

Elizabeth Warren may not be running for president anymore, but what she fought for remains relevant and urgent. We just need to transfer that energy and her message to the local level.

When we support women, all of us win. So let’s get to it.

Jessica Woolford

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Jessica Woolford,