Senator Elizabeth Warren: “If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says ‘Whiner!’ And if you say ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, What planet do you live on?”
Whether or not you supported Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar, their withdrawal as candidates was especially disappointing and sad for all women. Breaking through the ceiling is incredibly tough, and fighting the myths, smirks and criticisms takes women with passion and commitment – and more. We recognize that this is not easy.
Why No Women?
We are constantly asked, “Why don’t we have a woman County Commissioner?” And in the next breath, people mention how vicious our local politics are, how “venomous” commissioners like Cecil Pendergrass can be, how women must sell their souls if they want to be elected and must be mean, selfish, ego-driven, and cunning. Oh, and if they do run, they are ignoring their families.
Well, that’s not who we are. But that doesn’t mean we cannot win; nor do we have to take on these qualities if we join together. We make up more than half the population of Lee County; we lead businesses, nonprofits and public agencies; we are judges, caregivers, doctors, house cleaners, wives and mothers. And we are the economic spine of this county – yet have no voice offering our perspective on our Board of County Commissioners.
Why is this important? Let me count the ways:
- We are planners with a vision,
- We are problem solvers,
- We value education and lifelong learning,
- We are effective team members and collaborators,
- We are trusted and authentic, and
- We have a nurturing spirit, and care about our community and the children and adults who live here.
Today’s all-male County Commission — beholden to special interests as it is — simply lacks these qualities.
Women Leaders Wanted
So here’s our thing: we don’t care about your political party affiliation. Our issues are environmental stewardship; thoughtful, well-managed growth; and respect for civic engagement. These aren’t partisan issues; rather they are foundational elements of good governance.
If we as women want to succeed, if we want the opportunity to vote for women candidates, if we want our daughters to aspire to be leaders, if we want a better quality of life for ourselves and our families, we are going to have to step up. And the best place to start is at the local level.
If you want to run for the office of County Commissioner – or work for a woman candidate — the time is now. In 2022, we will have two commission seats up for election — now woefully occupied by Brian Hamman and Cecil Pendergrass. We can defeat them.