12 April 2008

Get Out Her Vote!

Seeing as I'm not a morning person, I've kinda forgotten what 6:00 am looks like. However, this morning I was not only awake at the ungodly hour, but driving to Columbus. Why, you ask? Feminist Majority Foundation's Get Out Her Vote Ohio Summit. I went as half of a delegation representing the Organization for Women's Issues, one of BGSU's feminist groups (of which I am president, at least for three more weeks). And in spite of the fact that I was running on like, three hours of sleep, it was a great time!

As the name implies, the conference focused on the importance of women's involvement in the political process- from voting and volunteering to running for office. Speakers included OH Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, and other women from varying levels of local government. I moderated a panel on running for office, which featured great advice from Lucas Co. Auditor Anita Lopez and and Columbus City Council member Charleta Tavares. The best thing they had to say? If you want to run for office, start with a small position (like running for the local school board) and go from there. Only run when you have a purpose (ie: you can create positive change for your community).

The opening and closing speakers were Jennifer Brunner and Jane Campbell. Both women have been working in public service for a number of years, and it was great to hear their stories. Brunner: "An election is like giving birth- it's gonna happen whether you're ready or not." Campbell was funny and gracious, and Cleveland was lucky to have her (read: screwed themselves over by not re-electing her). She once had to hide her pregnancy to get on the committee she wanted. Fun fact: there are diaper changing facilities in public rest areas because of her!

All things considered, it was a great conference and I can't wait to be more involved with politics myself (luckily, I only have to wait until May).

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