Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Open Letter from Robyn Ritter Simon
Thanks for writing about an issue near and dear to me. As a former candidate for the Los Angeles City Council in 2001 & 2009 (5th District), I am one of the brave women who did put it all on the line to run for an office I believed I could bring value to. As a lifelong resident of Los Angeles, an active community member, a parent, and a passionate champion of more women in office, I applaud you for covering what our political landscape will sadly look like come 2013.
All the women you spoke with and had comment in your article are friends, colleagues and supporters of mine. I have spent a dozen years involved with and serving as a Board member with the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group committed to recruiting, training and supporting more women to run for office. The obstacles are huge for a candidate running in Los Angeles, money probably being the most challenging. Second, is that women still carry the primary responsibility of their families and are unwilling to jeopardize their family for the grueling scrutiny that accompanies a candidate on the campaign tail. I might also point out, that women don’t always support other women and it’s terribly frustrating.
Several of the women you quoted or write about in your article are in office because the women’s community backed them wholeheartedly, and not because they were female, but because they were the best candidates in their respective races. However, many of them do not stay true to the core values that helped elect them which included a commitment to more women in office. They do not mentor women in their communities to fill the pipeline when they move on, thus leaving a void when a seat becomes available. It is a recurring theme and one that now presents us with the possibility of no women on the LA City Council, a town that prides itself on being inclusive and progressive. Where will my voice be on the council?
NWPC’s mission is 50/50 by 2020, 50% men, 50% women representation in all branches of government by the year 2020. We will not achieve this goal at the rate we are progressing. This being said, I will continue working tirelessly to support women candidates with my energy, experience, money and encouragement that while the road may be brutal, and it is, the outcome of having her voice in the political dialogue, is well worth it.
Thanks again for writing an article that speaks volumes to me.
Labels: robyn ritter simon