I am consistently inspired by the women I work with and interact everyday in Washington. Even more so, I am always awestruck by the number of women I see and meet at events in Washington who are giving their all to the cause of encouraging young women to strive for more but who are not actually from the District. They come from all over the country; they come for many reasons that aren’t always central to that message; and they always make the effort to donate their time and resources to furthering the wonderful cause of Running Start and the Women Under 40 PAC(WUFPAC).
Last night, I was thrilled to join these women at the WUFPAC Summer BBQ event on Capitol Hill. There was great food, excellent conversation and only a little rain. Actually it rained a lot. So much so that we were running back and forth between the tent outside and the inside of the townhouse, throwing caution to the wind and not really caring how soaked we got. Everyone laughed about the weather and found themselves suddenly standing next to new people as they dashed in from the storm and back out again as the night cleared and rained repeatedly. I spoke with women from all walks of life – private industry, non-profit, staffers from both the House and Senate side – and they all were excited about the same message: We need more young women in elected offices. We need to see them running and winning earlier so that we can see things happen with them at a younger age. I want to see the changes that women working together, across political party lines, for the greater good of our country. And working together, organizations like Running Start and the WUFPAC are going to make these goals happen. They need all of our support.
I had a great time at this event. Everyone was so excited to be there and see the wonderful turn out, and everyone wanted to talk about how great it would be if we had more young women involved in politics. Given the fact that the only thing I seem to see covered on the news anymore is the presidential primaries, it was a relief to talk about something else – elections of the future when the young women who benefit from programs like Running Start’s Path to Politics and Young Women’s Political Leadership Retreat will succeed and accomplish things that politicians today ignore or brush under the rug as though problems will just go away if you don’t see them or discuss them.
I had the chance to talk to the President of WUFPAC, Jessica Grounds. She is so inspiring and so excited to see young women get involved in politics and, true to any organization leader, she was amazingly everywhere at once, greeting former Member of Congress Pat Schroder (who was a woman under 40 when she was first elected!) and Representative Tim Ryan (OH-17) as they arrived, making sure everyone was taken care of and still making time to chat with young women interested in politics and running for office. In addition to Jessica, I got the chance to talk to Karen O’Connor and Barbara Palmer, both distinguished professors at American University who run the Women & Politics Institute there. Both were wonderful and kind and eager to answer my many questions about their careers and their dedication to the cause of bringing women to politics.
By the time I left I had consumed delicious BBQ, discussed important current events and future politics and met many men and women putting themselves out there to get more women involved in politics. I wish more fundraisers and political receptions left me with such a great feeling and bounce in my step despite the fact that the rain continued, and I was soaked to the skin by the time I got home.