Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pennsylvania. Needs. Women.


2 women in Congress

There are 435 members of Congress serving in the House and 100 Senators. In theory, there should be 218 women in the House and 50 women in the Senate. Right now there are 20 women in the Senate, an all-time high, and 84 women in the House. There are 84 women in the House, not 218, 62 of them Democrats and 22 of them Republicans. Slowly, slowly, slowly equality is coming to Congress. But you know what... some of the worst, most disgusting and lets qualified members of Congress are women-- think Joni Ernst (R-IA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-AZ), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ), Barbara Comstock (R-VA). And so are some of the very best members: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (THE best member of Congress), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Judy Chu (D-CA)...

That all said, Blue America doesn't endorse people based on their gender. On our post-primaries endorsement page for the House, we have 14 candidates, 7 women and 7 men. I didn't know that 'til I opened the page and counted just now. I want to see more women in Congress, but I want to see more women like Elizabeth Warren and Barbara Lee and Donna Edwards, not more like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Virginia Foxx and Diane Black. And the way we pick our candidates is by measuring them against an Elizabeth Warren or Barbara Lee. We look for candidates-- regardless of gender who are progressive and who are courageous. If they're women, all the better.

Last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a piece by Justine McDaniel, "She. Can't. Win. Why PA Has No Women In U.S. House. "Women," she wrote, "represent 51 percent of Pennsylvania's population, but not one of its 18 House districts. Of 35 declared candidates running for those seats this fall, five are women. If history and money are indicators, none are likely to win."

Blue America is backing two women running for House seats, Mary Ellen Balchunis (PA-07) and Kerith Taylor (PA-05). The professional odds-makers give them virtually no chance to win. We don't agree. "You would think," Balchunis told The Inquirer in reference to the excitement over the Hillary presidential run, "that there should be all this focus to help us get at least one woman in there. Not because we're women, but because we should have a representative government... Women shouldn't just be those people in the political parties that lick envelopes and stamp them and help out at fund-raisers."

When Balchunis declared her candidacy, Nancy Pelosi-- the former House Speaker who famously said "when women win, America wins"-- immediately allowed her DCCC to recruit a conservative Wall Street white man to run against her. The DCCC did everything it could to undermine and sabotage Balchunis and spent $14,500 against her in the primary. Mary Ellen, who has endorsed by People for the American Way yesterday, by economic equality icon Lilly Ledbetter a few days earlier, had already been backed the Delaware, Montgomery and Chester county Democratic parties and by Joe Sestak, the last Democrat to hold the congressional seat. And by the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, DFA, NOW, Planned Parenthood and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She slaughtered the DCCC candidate in the primary-- 74-26%, despite being heavily outspent. As soon as she won, Pelosi packed up her bags and left the district-- a swing district the DCCC had identified as a "must win" for Democrats to have any chance to take back the House-- ceding it, in effect, to crackpot NRA-fiend and Paul Ryan patsy Pat Meehan, the GOP incumbent. Pelosi has been stumbling around the country, drooling on herself and babbling that the Democrats can win back the House and that when women win, America wins.
The need for a more representative government is "always a consideration," said Preston Maddock, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. He said the party is focusing on electing Clinton and McGinty and does not make specific plans or goals for bringing other women into office.

"We can all do a better job of facing that reality and encouraging more women to run and making it easier on them to do so," he said.

Pennsylvania has never elected a female governor or U.S. Senator. Of the 50 states, it ranks 40th for its proportion of women in the state legislature. It is among 17 states without a woman in the House.

That puts Pennsylvania in the company of Alaska, North Dakota, and Iowa, whose combined populations don't match Philadelphia's; Montana, where the last female to make it to the House served one term in 1941; and Mississippi, which has never had a woman in Congress.

Of the seven Pennsylvania women-- all white-- who have served in the House, the first three succeeded their dead husbands. The fourth served for two years in the 1990s, and the rest came between 2001 and 2015.

"It's something that other people raise to me all the time," said Christina Hartman, a 39-year-old human-rights advocate and Democrat from Lancaster battling State Sen. Lloyd Smucker for an open House seat there. "They often single out Pennsylvania, not just for the lack of women in the delegation but for the classic old boys' network."

Hartman's race in Lancaster County, southern Chester County, and a part of Berks County including the city of Reading is the most competitive of the five. She was endorsed last week by EMILY's List, a PAC for electing women, and was put on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's list of emerging races. Hartman out-raised her GOP opponent in the last quarter by a sliver, with $205,611 on hand to his $203,085.

That puts her ahead of most of her counterparts. The average House challenger this year has raised $153,404, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The average House incumbent's campaign coffers: $1.2 million.

After working for pro-democracy nonprofits abroad, Hartman returned to Lancaster and volunteered herself for the seat. There, she has found some open minds, she said, but has also-- like other female candidates-- run up against "a very 1950s view of life."

"What we want to do is help folks to feel comfortable with the fact that women are great leaders," Hartman said.

Women bring collaboration and get-it-done grit of the sort that ended last year's government shutdown, the candidates say. They talk about health care, family care, and minimum-wage issues.

"If women were at the table," Balchunis said, "we would have equal pay."

...To Kerith Strano Taylor, a Jefferson County attorney making her second bid for the Fifth District seat, a lack of money is another barrier to being recognized. Like other challengers to incumbents, Strano Taylor is far behind her opponent, Rep. Glenn Thompson, in funding.

"I don't have a million-dollar war chest that would warrant [Clinton] coming to Jefferson County, Pennsylvania," Strano Taylor said. "If I was sitting on [more money], my party would be absolutely fascinated and interested."

After seeing other candidates and politicians address the state delegation at the Democratic National Convention in July, Strano Taylor asked organizers if she could speak. When she got a slot, she brought [Erin] McClelland and Balchunis up with her.

"Our state party writ large doesn't seem too keen on the fact that there are a bunch of women running for Congress," she said in an interview.

McClelland, of Harrison Township, Allegheny County, said she sees "an unintentional natural tendency to leave the congressional races out."

People who are passionate about electing women, "they're not grabbing onto that part of the congressional race," she said in an interview last week. "They're just still looking at it as a race that doesn't really matter."
We don't have a special ActBlue page for women or for Pennsylvania, but you'll find Mary Ellen Balchunis by clicking the thermometer on the left and you'll find and Kerith Taylor by click on the thermometer on the right. They can both use some help.
Goal ThermometerGoal Thermometer

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At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a comment most specifically about Nancy Pelosi.

You said:
~~When Balchunis declared her candidacy, Nancy Pelosi-- the former House Speaker who famously said "when women win, America wins"-- immediately allowed her DCCC to recruit a conservative Wall Street white man to run against her. The DCCC did everything it could to undermine and sabotage Balchunis and spent $14,500 against her in the primary.~~

I have zero respect for Nancy Pelosi, and haven’t for quite a few years- way before you (Howie) gave up on her, at least publicly, in your articles at DWT. Howie, I have no way of knowing what your private thoughts were as you went from celebrating Pelsoi as the best speaker ever, to your current and, I think justifiable, comments . Or maybe I’m making comparisons between your current and prior statements about Pelosi that are, as is said in trite comparisons, “apples and oranges”.

One of the major reasons I lost respect for her is that Pelosi is a “Queen Bee”. Howie, you are an astute and observant person, but you are a male. No insult intended! But as such, you would have had no reason to be particularly attuned to the “Queen Bee Syndrome” or its machinations. As a female academic in an area with substantial male domination, and few females, I’ve observed the “Queen Bee Syndrome” up close and personal. There are indeed women who do their best to support other female colleagues, especially as they struggle to “move up the academic ranks”. I count myself as one of those.

And then there are the “Queen Bees”- women who ostensibly, and often quite vocally say that they want other women to succeed, but in fact act to undermine them. These are women who have already achieved a measure of power in a male-dominated profession (by no means limited to academia). And, despite the platitudes they mouth about other women succeeding, they really want to maintain their own unique status and power in what is a man’s world.

Pelosi would rather make accord with the DCCC, than by challenging them over supporting a progressive female candidate. And, yes, I realize that my just prior sentence is a very limited statement – especially given your (Howie’s) extensive writings about the DCCC. Power and money.

As to the “Queen Bee Syndrome”:



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