Women Talk – Focus on Politics

Women Talk PoliticsWomenTalk returns Thursday Aug. 8;

Focus on politics in 2014

WomenTalk – our monthly time to gather and share – returns this week with a special focus on local politics.

Opportunities are many in 2014 – new county districts, judicial positions, county-wide offices.

Look around — our County Board of Commissioners has two women out of 13 positions. Our county administrators are mostly male – both elected and appointed, actually.

Four women serve in county-wide offices: Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich, County Trustee Cheyenne Johnson, Juvenile Court Clerk Joy Touliatos and Chancery Court Clerk and Master Donna Russell.

We have 14 women serving among some 40 elected judges:

General Sessions Civil – 4

General Sessions Criminal – 3

Criminal Court – 2

Probate Court – 1

Circuit Court – 4

Tennessee has had the lowest voter participation rate for women among all Southern states. We have never elected a female governor or U.S. senator.

Only three women have won statewide office in Tennessee running on their own. Three other filled vacancies caused by death of their husbands – so six women have served Tennessee statewide in all of its decades!

Our friend Otis Sanford wrote a compelling column on this subject Sunday in the Commercial Appeal as part of his tribute to the great Lois DeBerry who was buried this weekend:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2013/aug/04/otis-sanford-deberry-always-had-her-eye-on-good/

Also Sunday, quoted in The New York Times, Debbie Walsh at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University says, “The issues isn’t that voters won’t vote for women – it’s that we don’t have enough women running. It’s a recruitment issue.”

The center found 73 women hold elected statewide positions across the nation, or 23 percent of available positions, a portion almost identical to 1993. That portion increased through 2001 to 28 percent but is in a steady decline since then. Read the entire story at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/us/in-los-angeles-few-women-in-top-posts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Clearly the future holds huge opportunity for Shelby County women to be on the ballot – come talk about it!

See you at WomenTalk on Thursday, 5:30 to 7 p.m., 2574 Sam Cooper Blvd. at Bingham.

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