Elect Women NJ host Building our Power event ahead of NJ primaries
Elect Women NJ hosted an event this week featuring former congressional candidate Amy Kennedy with remarks by Senator Cory Booker. The event featured a conversation between Amy Kennedy, Founder and Chairwoman Kerri Kennedy, Founding Board members Kathy Williams and Suchitra Kamath with comments by Founder and Executive Director Tricia Maguire and Founder and Treasure Linda Peng-Grooters. The event, Building Our Power, highlighted the need for more women and more diversity in elected office in the state. Elect Women NJ launched to increase the numbers of women in local elected offices.
As we head into Mother’s Day weekend, Amy Kennedy highlighted how meaningful it has been in her community to have women who are mothers and teachers run for office. She ran for congress as a working mom with five children. Elect Women NJ Board Member, Cara Parmigiani, reiterated the importance of getting involved and creating change at a local level. “Start in your town, your county and if you see a problem that you want to fix, propose solutions. If we do not act, decisions will be made for us without us.”
Senator Booker recognized how difficult this year has been for many American in his remarks and also acknowledged how our collective activism and engagement can build power to inspire great change in the world. Booker added “as we celebrate Kamala’s Harris’ historic victory, we know that it is not enough to be the first. We have to ensure we are not the last.” Suchitra Kamath, Elect Women NJ board member, adds “Elect Women NJ is raising money to fund diverse, Democratic women running for local offices because we believe that local offices are where we build the pipeline. Local elected officials have the most impact on our day to day lives and we need organizations like Elect Women NJ to support women so they can serve and mentor others behind them.”
Both Booker and Kennedy addressed the severe underrepresentation of women in elected office. A recent CAWP study revealed that women in local offices are as underrepresented as they are at the state and federal levels. This research debunks a long-held myth that more women serve at a local level. Saily Avelenda, Elect Women NJ Board member states, “the lack of representation in local and national offices in N.J. is a reminder of the work we all need to continue to do to increase the number of women — especially women of color — in elected roles. Elect Women NJ knows that this is critical to building a more representative democracy.”
Elect Women NJ endorsed a successful slate of women candidates in 2020 from 13 NJ counties. 75% won their race. 60% of the endorsed winners identify as Black, Asian, Hispanic, or LGBTQ and 40% were historic wins. As a country, we have made progress with our first female Vice President in the White House, but we still have a long way to go towards gender parity. At our current rate of progress, it will be 200 years before we would have equal representation in politics in the U.S. And that was before the pandemic which could push back women’s progress back years and possibly decades if we don’t guard against it.
Elect Women NJ will launch this year’s endorsement application in late July. Get involved to ensure more historic wins, more diversity and women in office in our communities.
Elect Women NJ