Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Volunteer for Betsy Butler

Volunteer for Former NWPC LA Westside President, Assemblymember Betsy Butler!
Volunteer your time phone banking or precinct walking in support of NWPC endorsed candidate--and former LA Westside Caucus President--Betsy Butler.
Phone bank volunteers are needed at Betsy's Campaign Office--1222 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90025--on the following dates and times:
  • Monday - Thursday, 10am - 9pm
  • Saturday, 11am - 4pm
  • Sunday, 11am - 7pm
Precinct walking volunteers are needed every weekend.  On Saturday, April 21st, join Betsy to walk in West Hollywood from 2-6pm.  We'll meet at West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd.
To learn more about volunteering for Betsy, please contact NWPC LA Westside PAC Chair, Serena Josel at 
To learn more about Betsy's campaign, please visit

A conversation on women running for office in 2012: TOMORROW!

Don't get mad. Get elected.
The 2012 Project
A national nonpartisan campaign to achieve gender parity in government

Thursday, April 19th; 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
264 South Roxbury
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Suggested Donation: $500 Co-Host, $250 Friend, $100 Guest

RSVP with Betsy Cotton at or 510-306-0038

Can't attend? Please consider a donation to help elect more women in 2012!

All gifts to the 2012 Project are fully tax deductible

Nancy Cotton, Kathy Garmezy, Jean Huang, Ann Payson, Kathryn Sandow, Angela Sousa, Sarah Timberman, Mount St. Mary’s College &
NWPC LA Westside List in formation
invite you to join them for a conversation on women
running for office in 2012 with:
The Honorable Gwen Moore former State Legislator and Majority Whip
The Honorable Susan Rose former Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and
Executive Director of the LA Commission
Special Guest Actor Holland Taylor

Friday, April 13, 2012

Still hoping for a year of women candidates

 The Washinton Post | BY Sandra Fish

BOULDER, Colo. — Twenty years ago, women made huge gains in winning electoral offices at the state and federal levels in what was dubbed "The Year of the Woman."

This year, The 2012 Project is one of several organizations trying to take advantage of new congressional and legislative districts, open seats and the voter turnout of a presidential election to get more women elected. The group enlisted a faculty of former elected women politicians to recruit baby boomer professionals to run for office. Mary Hughes is founder and director of the nonpartisan project based at the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics.

Hughes talked about the challenge of getting women to run for office while participating in the University of Colorado's Conference on World Affairs.

How do you feel right now about the number of women running for office?
"Early indicators are good for a significant numbers of women filing. We think that the emphasis we've placed on open seats has actually had an effect. There's somewhere on the order of 70 women filed in the 39 open seats created by retirements or vacancies in the House of Representatives... In Illinois, where they have both filed and had a primary, it appears there's an all-time high in the number of women nominated for state legislature, for example."

There are several organizations out there like The 2012 Project — there's Smart Girl Politics, the White House Project, Ready to Run, others that are trying to encourage women to run. What do you see the two political parties doing?

"Both parties make efforts to reach out to women, but that's not their job. Their job is to get people who are best suited to win a competitive race. And leaving it to the parties is never going to be good enough. Women are so far behind in the United States. There are 93 countries who have greater representation of women in their federal legislature... so if we have any hope in the United States of catching up, we're going to have to do it ourselves. The women's community has organized itself fairly well. There are networks to raise money. There are campaign bootcamps, leadership training programs, there are think tanks that will fill in knowledge gaps. We did an inventory of the entire United States, created an interactive map, so that any woman in any state can go to and find the resources that will help her get up to speed to launch a candidacy."

The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty recently wrote about efforts to get women to run. This is being countered by a feeling among women that the scrutiny, the criticism, just the roughness of political contests isn't worth it. Do you see that kind of reluctance among the women you've tried to recruit?

"Recent history certainly suggests that there's a disaffection. I'm not sure the disaffection is any greater among women than it is among men. It's a tough time in politics. People who venture out there have to have tough hides. But you have to ask the question, 'Is America worth it?' America is worth it. And I believe the women in this country know that. When they're given the support and direction and opportunity and they look at a year like this, which has the greatest number of open seats, and they understand that they can be competitive, I think women will run."

At the same time, you have people like South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, both elected governors in 2010, say they don't want to be Mitt Romney's running mate. Nikki Haley's getting a lot of grief in South Carolina. Are the media and the public and political opposition tougher on women than on men?

"In Gov. Haley's case, South Carolina is either 49th or 50th in the number of women in its state legislature. For South Carolina to have a woman governor is an achievement in itself. Understanding that gulf between men and women and representative offices in South Carolina means that she will be a target, she will be challenged, she will be tested. Both governors, very wisely, and no different than (New Jersey Gov.) Chris Christie, wisely understand that as first-term governors, you have to keep faith with the people who put you there."

Any predictions for highlights for women in 2012? Any races to watch out there that you think would be interesting?

Democrat Elizabeth Warren versus GOP Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, former GOP Gov. Linda Lingle potentially facing U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono in Hawaii's Senate contest, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin running for an open seat in Wisconsin and former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson in New Mexico's open seat are among the races to watch, Hughes said.
"The Senate is ground zero for the marquee races."

2012 will be over in December. What happens next with The 2012 Project?

"We're looking at ways that what we have built can be carried forward... The faculty, for example, the state coalitions ... these will go forward. Clearly there was a need for this call to service and 2012 can not be the end of it. Even if we match what happened in 1992, we would have a long way to go before women are at equitable levels of representation in the leadership of our country."

Sandra Fish teaches journalism at the University of Colorado and has reported on politics in Iowa, Florida and Colorado. Follow her on Twitter at @fishnette

Board Member Spotlight: Sophia Lee

Sophia Louisa Lee currently sits on the NWPC L.A. Westside board of directors as a Member at Large.  She works in a law firm in Century City as a legal assistant, and operated her own contemporary art gallery, Sophia Louisa Projects.
An avid supporter and enthusiast of the arts, she has sat on the board of directors for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ art council.  She has also been a member of the Studio City Chamber of Commerce, and the Los Angeles branch of Women in Business.

Sophia is an advocate for children’s and women’s rights, special needs children, and public education.

With the “war against women,” she is all the more compelled and enthusiastic to help pro-choice women gain seats in all levels of government.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Grace. Beauty. Fortitude.

Grace. Beauty. Fortitude.
by Sophia Louisa Lee, Board Member

I recently received a letter from my grandmother, which was very moving.  She's 96 years old, and lives at home with my grandfather (who's 98!) and my mom in Arizona.  Receiving this letter made me think of the first art exhibition I curated for Sophia Louisa Projects in 2009.  It was called Grace Beauty Fortitude.  These three words aptly describe my grandmother.  Her entire life she has been beautiful, from the inside out.  She has handled life with grace, regardless of the manifold of obstacles, and always has maintained a strength based in love throughout the years.

As society today is constantly being bombarded with information – whether legitimate or not - it can all become very overwhelming.  Hearing tidbits here and there that is explosive, negative, or just tragic (suicides, car accidents, murders, natural deaths, oh, and of course, politics) can be just too much to take.  How does someone take all this information in without falling apart? Does one become desensitized?  Or all the more insular in her (or his) own little world?  How does one learn the balance?

It is naive to believe that people can get along (think of it as eating different foods - some things you will like, some things you just won't - some things you'll dislike so much your stomach will turn into knots).  It's not that you don't want to hate the food, you just don’t like it – sometimes you just downright hate it.

Is it really any different with people?  Maybe it’s a chemistry thing – the same reason why people fall in love or adore someone can be the same chemicals that can make someone dislike or even hate someone.  (That or generations of people being caught up in the mentality that other people just cannot be accepted – I find it fascinating that a diverse group of young children can play and interact with each other beautifully, but once adults get in the mix, they can greatly alter that freedom of acceptance.)

Can you imagine if everything and everyone were approached with grace, beauty and fortitude?  To hold your position, but without attacking, without your stomach turning into knots, without wanting to scream and yell, but rather to maintain poise and respect?

Is it is too naïve to think that could happen?  Maybe it is the “fight” or “flight” element that everyone has instinctually engrained to become enraged at someone for not agreeing with them.  It’s interesting to see how even the slightest thing, even on social media, can upset someone if she (or he) doesn’t agree with it. 

I recently read an article about Pinterest, about people heatedly disagreeing about a photo with a tag line that some found offensive, while others found hysterical.

Are there “rules” anymore?  Or, with the internet and social media, is everything really just a free for all?

I like to think I have a lot of my grandmother in me, and I hope to be rocking and rolling when I'm well into my 90s.  We are all different.  But, really, we are all the same.  The difference is how we approach situations.

As situations arise, no matter what they may be, may you embrace it with grace, beauty and fortitude.  And maybe, just maybe, others will take your lead, and it will become contagious.

Sophia Louisa Lee is a board member of the NWPC-LA and works full time in a law firm.  

Sophia is an artist and art enthusiast, an advocate for women’s and children’s rights (part of raising an amazing teenager daughter with Mosaic Down Syndrome), and a dreamer, always hoping for the best with grace, beauty and fortitude.

A new multi-organization effort: HERvotes

In recognition of the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, and the anniversary of the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, a coalition of women’s organizations, representing millions of women, announced plans to counter the attacks on women’s economic and health security through a new multi-organization effort, HERvotes. The goal is to mobilize women voters in 2012 around preserving women’s Health and Economic Rights (HER rights.)
The top priorities of HERvotes are to educate and engage more women to use their voices and their votes to urge lawmakers who seek to represent them to:
  • Stop the attacks on historic advances for women;
  • Preserve successful policies, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act;
  • Respect women’s contribution to the economy; and
  • Act on jobs at livable wages and equal pay for our families’ economic security.
This multi-organization effort is coming together to harness the growing power of women in the United States. Women now comprise half of the entire paid labor force, and are essential contributors to the economy, both as workers and consumers. Women are also an increasingly powerful political force. According to the Center for American Women in Politics, women had a higher turnout rate in 2008 than men, with 60.4 percent of women turned out to vote compared to 55.7 percent of men. This gender gap held true across all ages and races.

NWPC is a coalition partner with HER vote.

April 19 Event Hosted by 2012 Project


Visit them on the web:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recent News of Interest, Board Member Stephanie Molen

Thank you to Board Member Stephanie Molen for providing these great clips!

Women Knit Uteruses for Lawmakers

An organization called Government Free VJJ is encouraging women to knit uteruses and send them to male members of Congress with the note, “Dear Men in Congress: If we knit you a uterus, will you stay out of ours?” Supporters can either send the knitted organs directly to their congressional representatives or to project organizers who will hand deliver them. And as debate continues in Arizona about a controversial bill that would allow employers to dictate if an employee’s insurance could cover contraception, one woman says she will begin sending a knitted uterus to Arizona legislators after she sends them to Arizona’s congressional delegation. Watch a local news report about the bill and the knitting: here.

Tennessee Abortion Bill Would Make Abortion Providers' Names Public

A new bill moving through the Tennessee House of Representatives would require the state to publish the names of each doctor who performs an abortion and detailed statistics about the woman having the procedure, which opponents worry will spur anti-abortion violence in the state.

The Life Defense Act of 2012, sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesboro), mandates that the Tennessee Department of Health make detailed demographic information about every woman who has an abortion available to the public, including her age, race, county, marital status, education level, number of children, the location of the procedure and how many times she has been pregnant. Each report would also have to include the name of the doctor who performed the procedure.

Several health organizations, including the Tennessee Medical Association and Planned Parenthood, are concerned that the bill will make doctors and women vulnerable to attacks, especially considering the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider, by an anti-abortion activist in 2009.

"We live in an environment where there is a lot of violence against abortion providers, clinics, and clinic staff," said Jeff Teague, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and Eastern Tennessee. "We've had physicians who provide abortion care murdered in the past few years. This is an attempt to intimidate physicians who provide abortion care and the women who seek abortions and to terrorize them."

Rep. Gary Odom (D-Nashville) called the bill "very dangerous," and said the Republicans who voted it out of a House subcommittee offered "no explanation as to why this was something that needed to be done."

"It puts a target on women's and physicians' backs," he told HuffPost. "I think it's a very dangerous piece of legislation and serves no purpose I can tell other than trying to intimidate women and physicians."

Hill, the bill's sponsor, did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did Tennessee Right To Life, the anti-abortion group that first suggested the bill to conservative state lawmakers. But at a subcommittee hearing on the bill earlier this month, Hill said, "I think it's fair for folks on both sides to see how prevalent abortion is in our counties and in our communities."

The House Health and Human Resources Committee is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday, and Odom said he expects it to pass in the GOP-dominated House. It will then move to the state Senate, where Republicans are also in the majority.

Original Huffington Post pieces: here

Idaho Senate Votes To Require Pre-Abortion Ultrasound

The Idaho Senate on Monday approved a measure requiring women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound before ending a pregnancy, joining a number of states passing ultrasound measures to discourage abortions.

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives, where it was expected to pass.

Idaho's Republican Governor, C.L. "Butch" Otter has not yet said whether he would sign the bill into law and a spokesman declined to comment on Monday.

Otter said last April, after signing a measure banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, that he supported restrictions on abortion.

Idaho is among 10 states considering a form of ultrasound legislation, said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights think tank.

A law recently passed in Virginia goes into effect in July, which will bring to eight the number of states requiring pre-abortion ultrasounds, she said.

The bill moving through Idaho's legislature is modeled after a Texas law which requires abortion providers to show or describe to a woman an ultrasound image of her fetus.

That 2011 law went into effect last month after withstanding a challenge in federal court.

Like the Texas measure, which is considered the most restrictive in the nation, the bill in Idaho offers women the option of declining to view ultrasound images or listen to the fetal heartbeat.

The legislation would subject abortion providers who do not sign and date a statement about the particulars of the ultrasound and women's responses to it to disciplinary actions or civil penalties.

Supporters of the measure, sponsored by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder of Boise, said it provides another layer of protection for a woman seeking to terminate her pregnancy.

"It provides the opportunity for her to learn all the important facts before making this life-changing decision," according to a statement by Right to Life of Idaho.

Opponents argue that most women seeking abortions in Idaho will be forced to undergo an invasive "vaginally administered" procedure.

The majority of abortions are performed before 10 weeks of pregnancy, when an image of the fetus can only be captured through an internal exam, pediatrician and Democratic state Representative John Rusche, said in a statement.

"The practitioner then needs to record the gestational age and fetal heart rate if present. That info can really only be determined by the ‘internal' study," he said.

Virginia considered but ultimately decided against requiring an invasive vaginal probe after strong criticism from women's groups and abortion rights supporters, who said it would be demeaning to women.

The ultrasound measure passed the Idaho Senate in a 23-12 vote mostly along party lines.

Idaho and five other states in the past two years have enacted late-term abortion bans based on controversial medical research suggesting a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of gestation.

Idaho's 20-week ban and a 1972 law making it a felony for a woman to end her own pregnancy, are being challenged in federal court.

Original Huffington Post piece: here

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