Why focus on local government?
Women are still underrepresented in most levels of elected office. Women Awake PAC recognizes that this imbalance is leaving valuable talent on the bench, minimizing the impact of women’s perspectives and priorities, and reducing opportunities for women not just in government, but across society. Addressing the imbalance requires focus at every level.
Emily’s List and other national groups work to elect progressive women at the federal level. Lillian’s List of NC and other state groups focus on electing progressive women at the state level. What has been missing in NC, until now, is a group dedicated to electing progressive women at the local level.
Women Awake Political Action Committee was organized in 2018 to fill that gap, and to support the election of progressive women to offices in local communities across North Carolina. We know that when women are in leadership positions, they will enable children and families and communities to thrive.
We also know that if we activate additional progressive women leaders at the local level, we can expect that, over time, some of them will build upon that experience to later serve at the state and federal levels, creating a Pipeline for Progress. In fact, it’s clear that who we elect locally today will help determine the choices we have on other ballots in the future, based on the facts that:
- At least one-third of North Carolina’s current legislators have local government experience.
- Nationally, over half of women serving at the state level have local government experience.
Why start in Wake County?
Our founding Board members live in Wake County, and we know it well – its history, its strengths, its wealth of talented women, and its opportunities for improvement.
When Women Awake PAC was formed in early 2018, Wake County’s 7-member Board of Commissioners had only 1 woman. As in most communities, women make up approximately 50% of Wake County. So, with women comprising only 15% of the Board, it was obvious that the composition of the Wake County Board of Commissioners did not reflect its population. Without proportional representation of women’s voices at the table, perhaps it is not surprising that the Commissioners’ votes and decisions had not reflected some of the most important values and priorities of our community and its families. In particular, the Board of Commissioners had failed for multiple years to provide adequate funding of Wake County Public School System’s operating budget requests for critical needs.
In short, the male-dominated Wake County Board of Commissioners had failed to honor their promises to our families, our children, our teachers, and our community. In Wake County, one of the wealthiest counties in our state, and a county that enjoys a lower property tax rate than most other metropolitan areas in NC, this was not a problem of available resources, but a disagreement on priorities.
Obviously, we needed more progressive women on the Wake County Board of Commissioners! Women Awake PAC began working to effect that long-overdue change as its first endeavor.
How are we doing so far?
Women Awake PAC endorsed a slate of four qualified, progressive women on the May ballot for the 2018 primary election for the Wake County Commission (three challengers, and one incumbent). Two of our three challengers prevailed in their primaries by unseating the male incumbents, and three of our four endorsed candidates are now on the November ballot for the 2018 general election for the Wake County Board of Commissioners!
With that encouraging result in the primary election, we then focused on the general election.
Who did we endorse in the 2018 General Election?
For the November 2018 General Election, we expanded our slate of endorsed candidates. We are proud to have endorsed the following progressive women for local elected office in Wake County, all of whom won their races on November 6, 2018!
Wake County Board of Commissioners
- Jessica Holmes – District 3
- Susan Evans – District 4
- Vickie Adamson – District 7
WCPSS Board of Education
- Monika Johnson-Hostler – District 2
- Christine Kushner – District 6
- Kathy Hartenstine (deceased) – District 7
- Lindsay Mahaffey – District 8
Wake Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
- Nervahna Rachelle Crew
- Jennifer Austin Wadsworth
To learn more about our most recently endorsed candidates, please see Our Candidates page on our website.
Women Awake PAC intends to enable progressive women candidates to get elected so they can make positive changes locally, and to encourage more women to gain experience and consider seeking higher office. We’re doing that first in Wake County, and plan to later expand to additional cities and counties in North Carolina. That expansion will require local engagement. So, if you see a need for change in your local community government, please contact us to discuss how you can collaborate with us to cultivate and support progressive women candidates for local office.
How Can You Help?
Please visit the rest of Women Awake PAC website, and our social media sites, including our Facebook page. Help us get out the word on Women Awake PAC. Like us, follow us, and share us with your friends!
Please also learn more about our future Endorsed Candidates. Like them and follow them on social media; share their information with your friends. Consider volunteering to support their campaigns.
Successful modern campaigns require funding, and it is vitally important to financially support women who offer themselves up for public service. We hope that you will consider a contribution to the Women Awake PAC, and also to the campaigns of the individual candidates. Doing this not only helps current candidates to win, but also gives hope and encouragement to other women to run for office in the future!
Finally, a great way to support women candidates is to get women to the polls! Please vote, encourage your friends and family to vote, and engage with groups that are leading “Get Out The Vote” campaigns to increase participation in elections. When WOMEN RUN and WOMEN VOTE, WOMEN WIN!