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Politics

Women Gather In San Diego To Learn To Run For Office

Woman discuss running for government offices during a small group session at a Women in Leadership conference at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego, Jan. 16, 2018.
Susan Murphy
Woman discuss running for government offices during a small group session at a Women in Leadership conference at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego, Jan. 16, 2018.

First, they marched. Now they’re running — for office.

At a four day National Farmers Union conference at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego this week, nearly 100 women from across the nation are learning the important tools for building campaign operations — from communications to fundraising.

They’re part of a surge of women vying to put their names on the ballot to increase women’s representation in government, which has been stuck at 22 percent.

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“It’s a tsunami of women who are coming out of the fields, out of the woods, out of every corner of our states to run for office,” said Liz Johnson, co-founder of VoteRunLead, and a keynote speaker at the conference.

The effort follows the national Women's March a year ago, and a flood of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men.

For Charlotte Smith, 51, from St. Paul, Oregon, running for president of the Northwest Farmers Union came as a no-brainer when she realized just one other woman in the national group holds the top role.

“I grew up in agriculture and women are sorely underrepresented in leadership positions in agriculture,” Smith said.

Alicia Leinberger, 49, from Viroqua Wisconsin is looking to oust a long-term Republican male in the 96th Assembly seat.

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“I’m running because we don’t have any voice in rural America — especially family farmers — we don’t have any voice in politics anymore, and policy,” Leinberger said.

During a small group session on Tuesday morning, Johnson told the group there’s never been a bigger opportunity for women to put their hat in the ring.

“People are looking for new faces,” she said. “They’re looking for women to step up and lead. Men and women want more women to run for office.”

Women Gather In San Diego To Learn To Run For Office
First, they marched. Now they’re running — for office. At a four day conference in San Diego this week, nearly 100 women from across the nation are learning the important tools for building campaign operations — from communications to fundraising.

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