Sunday, January 22, 2012


Why it matters that mothers be engaged in the political process.
By Robyn Ritter Simon

So you think the local Water Board’s decisions don’t affect you?  Or how about the local planning commission that votes on everything built in your communities?  From Water Boards, to Pension Commissions, to Community College Trustees; from State and Federal Judges to Congressional Committees and the Supreme Court decisions, every outcome of these governing bodies impacts our lives.  So how come so few get involved and cast a vote on Election Day?

If I had the answer to this question, I’d be one sought after woman.

In March 2009, the year I ran for Los Angeles City Council (D-5), with close to 1.6 million eligible voters, only 17 % went to the polls to exercise their voice. What a shame. Countries worldwide are fighting to have their voices heard, even dying for the right.  And many women are still denied the right to vote, yet here in America so many have adopted the “what does it matter who gets elected” attitude.

Here’s just a sampling of countries denying women an opportunity to elect their leaders:
Brunei and Saudi Arabia do not allow women to vote at all. Lebanon requires proof of education for women to vote. United Arab Emirates has limited voting for women and the state of Vatican City does not allow women to vote.

Harrison, Brandon & Spencer Simon
As an engaged civic participant, and a mother raising three teenage sons, it matters a great deal that we weigh in.  All of it from water, to planning, to school board trustees to judges. The decisions made at each level of government shape the policies that we will live with and many directly impact services and choices for women.  From health care to jobs to schools, we should not sit idle and let others make the decisions about our lives and futures.

The greatest power we have as mothers and women is to lead by example. We must teach our children the importance of voting and participating.  You have the power as a mom to show your children why it matters.

My sons have grown up in a political household.  From countless “meet & greets” for candidates to fundraisers for causes and people we support, to housing my own political campaign in our family dining room, my sons have witnessed what it takes to be an active participant in the political decision making process.  Whether they pursue careers in politics is not the point. The point is: they will know the value of voting, of being engaged and of making a difference in their communities.

I have never taken my responsibility of an involved community member or my parenting role lightly; in fact it is what defines me.  I care deeply and sometimes too passionately about causes and about electing people who mirror me and my political leanings.  I have gone out of my way to ensure that not just my sons, but all their friends too understand the responsibility we have as Americans to get involved.

Motherhood is all about raising healthy, responsible children. But it also about preparing your children to grow into civically-minded and active adults.  We need to do our job as parents so that when they reach the voting age, they will be a conscious and proud voter -- a person who recognizes how important it is to get to the polls and make their voices heard.

Robyn Ritter Simon is a former candidate for Los Angeles City Council; a former Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner; a current Board member on the Los Angeles City College Foundation Board; a Board member on the National Women’s Political Caucus, LA Westside; and a devoted mother to three sons.


  1. We love you Robyn! Thank you for inspiring all of us to be more involved ... You truly do lead by example!

  2. Great blog, Robyn. It takes a village to raise a child. We all need to set a good, positive example!!!


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