Creating a Pipeline for a More Inclusive Democracy
MWPC Board Secretary Joyce Ferriabough-Bolling in the Trotter Review discussing local efforts to increase the participation of women of color in all levels of politics.
Commentary: Creating a Pipeline for a More Inclusive Democracy
The Caucus Quarterly Spring Edition is here!
Check out our spring newsletter!
Harvard Business Review: A Key to US Competitiveness: Work-Life Balance
In her first blog post for the Harvard Business Review, MWPC Board Member Lauren Rikleen discusses the importance of work-life balance in workplace productivity and competitiveness.
Read more here:
Young Professionals, This One's for You!
MWPC Board Member and founder of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership, Lauren Rikleen examines the roles of Millenials in the work place. As the Baby Boomer generation is moving out of the employment sector and Generation X is not large enough to fill the gap, it is up to the Millenial generation to fill it in. Rikleen explores the popular misconceptions of this generation as well as the benefits they bring with them to the professional world:
Thoughts on this topic? Feel free to post them on our blog! http://masswomenspoliticalcaucus.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html
Our Winter Newsletter is Here!!!
2011 was a very successful, busy year for us! See what we've done and what we plan to do in 2012! Plus keep an eye on your inboxes for more information about our Annual Meeting and our Annual Good Guys Awards!
Read The Caucus Quarterly Winter Edition
MWPC's Fall 2011 Newsletter Is Out!
Check out the things we've been working on in the municipal elections, how this year's Tribute to Abigail Adams went, and what our interns are up to today!
Read the Caucus Quarterly Fall Edition
MWPC's Summer 2011 Newsletter is Out!
Check out the latest edition of our newsletter and see what we've been up to!
The National Women's Political Caucus Honors Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus Board Member with 2011 "Women of Courage" Award: Joyce Ferriabough-Bolling to presented with distinguished Award at July Convention in DC
July 5, 2011
BOSTON The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (MWPC) is proud to announce and congratulate Board Secretary Joyce Ferriabough-Bolling for being honored with a 2011 National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC), Woman of Courage Award for her outstanding work promoting civil rights and equality. She will be honored alongside nine other extraordinary women, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Nobel Prize Nominee Rubina Bhatti and former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman.
Each year, the NWPC presents the Women of Courage Awards to women from diverse backgrounds who have proven to be inspiring examples of women's leadership and who have exhibited courage in the struggle to further civil rights and equality in the United States. Joyce's impressive work as the first and only popularly elected woman president of the Black Political Task Force, as a community leader whose work on behalf of communities of color was chronicled in the Boston Globe Magazine, and as a political consultant, media strategist, prolific fund raiser and advisor to countless campaigns and an active board member of the MWPC, has demonstrated a true commitment to the advancement of diversity and equality for women.
Joyce was instrumental in helping to elect the first woman of color to the Massachusetts State Senate, the first Haitian American woman elected to the State Legislature in the United States, and the election of her friend and protιgι as the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council in its 100 year history. Most recently, Campaign and Politics Magazine named her one of the Commonwealth's Top 100 Political Influencers, describing her as a "Democratic grande dame, longtime message masseuse and fundraiser."
"We are thrilled that one of our own will receive this award and be honored among other distinguished women leaders from across the United States," said Pam Nourse, President of the MWPC Board. "We are proud of Joyce's history of accomplishments as a respected community leader and as an active and contributing member of the MWPC, whose efforts promoting diversity and equality for all women has strengthened the Commonwealth and the work of the Caucus".
The awards will be presented at the NWPC 20th Biennial Convention in Washington, DC, at the National Diversity Reception on Friday, July 29th, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Liaison Hotel.
For more information on the Women of Courage Awards, please visit www.nwpc.org
Victims Not Delinquents
May 29, 2011 | By Yvonne Abraham, Globe Columnist
ARLINGTON For legislators still in need of a reason to pass obscenely overdue human trafficking legislation, Norman S. Barnes has provided.
In case you missed the nauseating news, Barnes is accused of abducting a 15-year-old, holding her captive for 11 days, and forcing her to work as a prostitute in three counties. He was arrested May 19, after the girl escaped from a Quincy hotel room.
It's a horrific story. But it's just an extreme example of a scenario playing out all over this state every week, as minors are coerced into selling their bodies to enrich an army of pimps.
Head over to the Germaine Lawrence adolescent treatment center in Arlington and you'll find plenty of girls who were pressed into prostitution as minors: At least 20 of the 80 girls at the center most of them runaways have sold their bodies for shelter, or drugs, or to avoid beatings.
As awful as it is, the story of the girl we'll call Aya isn't unusual. She's 15, with dark hair and an effervescence that seems miraculous once she starts talking.
For half of Aya's life, her drug-addicted mother was barely present in their Fall River home, unable to protect the girl from a family friend who sexually abused her when she was 9.
Aya was a sitting duck 11 years old, sure of her worthlessness when a 16-year-old at school took an interest in her.
"He was my first love,'' she said, during a lunch break at Germaine Lawrence. Aya loved him even after he started hitting her.
"He made me believe I deserved it,'' she said matter-of-factly, piling potato chips into a ham sandwich.
"After a while he said, 'If you really love me, you'll have sex with my friend. I don't want you to do this, but can you just help him out?' He promised me money and clothes and anything I wanted.''
Instead, she got more beatings, and more of his friends about 20 of them, who paid the 16-year-old for sex with her. "I knew he didn't love me, but I didn't want him to leave me either,'' Aya said.
Eventually, a worker for the Department of Children and Families saw Aya's bruises and placed her in foster care. Once out, Aya went right back into the life, this time allowing somebody she'd met online to post pornographic videos of her. She started cutting herself, and was placed at Germaine Lawrence. She now gets the same services as any other sexual abuse victim might, including intensive therapy.
Scores of kids like Aya are preyed upon in this state each year, easy marks for pimps who see dollar signs in damaged souls. But because those girls are usually poor, troubled, and black or Latino, they're barely visible. Too often, because they're suborned into selling their bodies in more gradual, insidious ways than kidnapping, they're not even viewed as victims: Barnes's lawyer tried just that tack on Friday, saying the girl who escaped him was just looking for a way to avoid going to school. Some teens picked up for prostitution are treated as delinquents instead of abused children in desperate need of help. This is one seriously messed-up state of affairs.
But there's some hope: After years of failed efforts, Massachusetts one of only four states in the nation without a human trafficking law finally seems set to pass one. Pushed by Attorney General Martha Coakley, the law would come down hard on traffickers, especially those who prey on minors.
And Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley, his county a national leader in treating teenage prostitutes as victims rather than offenders, has proposed a bill to make that approach law across the Commonwealth.
The prospects of that "Safe Harbor'' legislation are less certain, but it's just as important as Coakley's crackdown. Because trafficked girls like Aya aren't imprisoned only by coercion and beatings: They're also bound by their own brokenness.
As Aya put it: "I thought this is what I was made for.''
For more information on Germaine Lawrence, please visit www.germainelawrence.org
MWPC 2011 Spring Newsletter
The MWPC Spring 2011 Newsletter is out. Please click the link below to read the newsletter.
the Spring 2011 Newsletter
No Playing Politics with Women's Health
By William F. Weld | Friday, March 25, 2011 Link to Boston Herald Opinion Page
As a former governor of Massachusetts, I know something about managing a budget, and about health care. I also know the difference between ideological conviction and bad policy. It's time for the politically motivated attacks on women's health care in Congress to stop.
It's easy for the representatives and senators whom we send to Washington to get wrapped up in national politics, but we elected them to rise above partisan games and protect the interests of the people of Massachusetts.
Right now, the House's proposals to end federal funding for Planned
Parenthood, and eliminate Title X family planning programs, have nothing in common with the core values of mainstream families in Massachusetts, nor are they based on sound policy.
It's hard to believe that stripping federal funding for Planned Parenthood and doing away with Title X are inspired by a desire to combat our mounting national deficit. In fact, they could well have the opposite effect.
It's been shown that for each $1 of money we invest in family planning, we save almost $4. Part of the reason for this is that the vast majority of services provided by family planning programs like Planned Parenthood are preventive, helping to catch cancer in the early stages, test for sexually transmitted diseases, and avoid unintended pregnancies.
Each year in Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood provides more than 41,200 STD tests, 3,400 cervical cancer screenings, 3,400 breast exams, and 18,900 contraceptive visits.
Proposals to end these services would cost both lives and money.
Like those of so many other states, Massachusetts's budget is already struggling in today's economic climate. The commonwealth can ill afford legislation that cuts family planning services - from either a prudential or a fiscal point of view.
It is likewise difficult to understand the claim that eliminating federal funding for family planning will reduce abortions.
Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and other health services means decreasing access to contraception, which means more unwanted pregnancies. This is not to mention that it is already illegal to use federal funding for abortions, so stopping the flow of federal money to family planning organizations would not have any effect on the number of abortions that occur in this country.
Proposals to stop funding for Planned Parenthood would put the health of thousands of Massachusetts women at risk. More than 34,700 Massachusetts residents rely on Planned Parenthood for care.
For six in 10 Planned Parenthood patients, these health centers are their main source of care - whether it's because these individuals are uninsured, struggling financially, or live in areas without additional health care providers.
It's not pleasant to imagine the devastating impact that cutting Planned Parenthood's services would have on Massachusetts women and families, especially those who need affordable care the most.
Claiming victory in an ill-advised political game is not worth harming the lives and health of millions of American women, children, and families.
I urge our representatives in Washington to have the common sense to rise above Washington partisanship and do what's best for the people of Massachusetts and America.
Counsel Can Transform the Legal Profession
This post was written by Lauren Stiller Rikleen,
who is the president of the Rikleen Institute for
Strategic Leadership. The author of Ending the Gauntlet,
Removing Barriers to Women’s Success in the
Law, she is also Executive-in-Residence at the Boston
College Center for Work and Family.
here to read the blog post
Boston Magazine List: 50 Most Powerful Women in Boston
The Boston Magazine recently published their list
of the 50 most powerful women in Boston and the
MWPC most recent past President, Lora Pellegrini,
has made the cut!
here to view The List: 50 Most Powerful Women in
MWPC Recognizes Speaker DeLeo's Appointments
February 1, 2011
Dear Speaker DeLeo,
On behalf of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, I would like to thank you for your continued commitment to, and excellent record of, promoting women to positions of leadership in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, most recently evidenced by your recent appointments.
We especially commend you for the appointment of women of the caliber of Representative Patricia Haddad to Speaker Pro Tempore as the first woman to ever hold this position; Representative Kathi-Ann Reinstein to Second Assistant Majority Leader; Representative Martha Walz to Assistant Vice-Chair of Ways and Means; Representative Alice Peisch to Chair of the Education Committee; Representative Ellen Story to Division Chair; Representative Anne Gobi to Chair of the Environment Committee; Representative Linda Dorcena Forry to Chair of Community Development and Small Business Committee; and a long list of women representatives as Chairs and Vice-Chairs of House committees.
We fondly remember your words when we honored you with our 2010 Good Guy Award, which recognizes outstanding men who have promoted political, social and economic parity for women. When we acknowledged your record of appointing more women to top legislative committees than any other Speaker in the history of the House, you responded that it was never your goal to appoint women for the sake of appointing women, but that often, women were in fact the best qualified candidates for the jobs. We couldn't have said it better! Your words underscore one of the hallmarks of MWPC's mission.
As a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to increasing diversity in government and promoting women to elected and appointed office across the Commonwealth, we thank you for your continued support of our mission and for all that you do to promote diversity and greater equality in our government.
MWPC Executive Director
Statement from Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus Regarding Congresswoman Giffords Shooting
Boston, MA -- The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (MWPC) is shocked and saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occured this morning at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' event in Tucson, Arizona. This act of violence should trouble us as a nation, as it follows a highly charged campaign season where, in many instances, we saw a lack of respect in political discourse. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her family, and all the victims and their families.
Statement from Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus Urging Governor Patrick to Consider Appointing a Woman as Middlesex County Sheriff
December 16, 2010
Boston-The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus urges Governor Patrick to consider appointing a woman to fill the vacant seat of the Middlesex County Sheriff. While the MWPC recognizes that the late Sheriff James DiPaola was beloved by his constituents and spent his life dedicated to helping others, there should be no doubt that a qualified woman would provide a new kind of leadership. A woman sheriff candidate would respect the good work that has already taken place by DiPaola's administration, while at the same time providing both the sensitivity and toughness to implement change and deliver results.
Currently, the Commonwealth has only one woman Sheriff--representing Suffolk County, one of the state's largest county's--whose work has been exemplary. We are hopeful that the appointment of only the 2nd woman to serve as Sheriff, representing Middlesex County, will be seen as a historic milestone, demonstrate a commitment for diversity, and serve as an opportunity that will encourage more women to aspire to take advantage of positions within Sheriffs' offices across the state for future leadership opportunities.
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin: Speaks in support of paycheck fairness
November 15, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), today made the following comments on the Senate floor regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will come up for a Senate vote on Wednesday.
Harkin's full remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
"Mr. President, I would also like to speak today about gender inequality, about women, about family and about fairness. This is not a new issue. In 1963, Congress responded to wage disparity between men and women by passing the Equal Pay Act. At that time, 25 million female workers earned just 60 percent of the average pay for men. Forty-seven years after the passage of that landmark law, we have made substantial progress towards eliminating this gross inequality.
"Today, almost half a century later, many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be suggesting that the Equal Pay Act was enough. That we should consider the problem solved and move on to other issues. But America's women deserve better. We have the responsibility to ask ourselves the harder questions -- are we fulfilling the promise of the Equal Pay Act? Do we need to do more? What is true pay equality?
"I can tell you one thing true equality does not look like this. It does not look like 77 cents on the dollar. For every dollar that a man earns, a woman earns just 77 cents. A wage gap exists within every segment of our society, at all education levels and in all sectors of our economy.
"Women's lower wages add up tremendously over a career: Over the course of a 40-year career, women on average earn nearly $400,000 less than a man, and women with a college degree or more face a career wage gap of more than $700,000 when compared with men with the same education.
"And, while many factors influence a worker's earnings including occupation, work experience, and union status40 percent of the wage gap cannot be explained and is likely due in large part to discrimination.
"This discrimination is unjust and unacceptable, and it is contributing to the economic crisis affecting our working families. Bear in mind that discrimination doesn't just impact women workers it also undermines their families' economic security. In today's economy, women represent half of all workers, and earn an increasing share of family income.
"Two-thirds of mothers are major contributors to family income. Four out of ten mothers are the primary breadwinner for their households and another one in four are co-breadwinners. In today's economy, when a mother earns less than her male colleagues, her family will have to sacrifice the basic necessities -- like paying bills and putting healthy food on the table.
"That was not what Congress intended when it passed the Equal Pay Act so many years ago, and it is not a result that we should accept today. It is long past time to revisit our equal pay laws, to ensure that they are fulfilling their intended purpose, and to explore whether a more comprehensive approach is necessary in the 21st century economy.
Read the rest of Sen. Harkin's remarks at: IowaPolitics.com
Women in Politics: An Equality Emergency
By: Kate Kelly
Posted: November 15, 2010
While the mid-term elections involved the constant media coverage of several female candidates (O'Donnell, Angle, McMahon, et al), the current tally shows that even when the last winners are determined, the number of women in elective offices will have dropped for the first time since 1978. Experts indicate that the number of women in the upcoming Congress is expected to slip slightly below the previous figure of 17 percent. This will bring the U.S. ranking to 90th in the world for the number of women serving in its country's national legislature.
The situation has been declared an "equality emergency" by the Women' Campaign Forum (WCF), a nonpartisan organization founded to support women at all levels of office, particularly during the earliest stages of their public life when support is most needed.
Siobahn "Sam" Bennett, president and CEO of WCF, explains the importance of women in public office this way: "When elected, women--particularly progressive women--advocate for welfare and quality of life in a way that men simply do not."
The WCF trademarked slogan is "Who Needs More Women in Government? Everyone."
Women are an Asset in Government
Data from the National Council for Research on Women indicates that women are also an asset in government because they value different issues from men, and they are more collaborative while making decisions, which permits more work to get done. (This would be a refreshing change from what has been happening in Congress of late.)
The WCF was formed in 1974 when a group of professional women banded together to form the first political action committee to focus specifically on women.
As they followed the career paths of women in politics and those considering candidacies, the WCF made a significant discovery: Women are 50 percent less likely than men to consider running for public office. Bennett explains female reticence this way:
"Women are a sensible gender. They earn a paycheck for their efforts in the workforce, and they have an unpaid job at home. Many of the local elected positions come without salary, and women have concerns about taking on more unpaid responsibilities.
"In addition, women are concerned about how the media will treat them," says Bennett.
Bennett speaks about this from personal experience. In 2008 she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 15th congressional district of Pennsylvania. She obtained endorsement from over 35 national organizations and garnered more votes for that seat than any other Democrat had ever received, but ultimately she was unsuccessful. "I came away from the experience with a full picture of what women encounter when they run for office. My efforts were met with an unacceptable level of misogyny, coupled with very unpleasant name-calling," says Bennett. "I vowed that I would work to prevent other women from encountering the same level of anger simply because they are candidates who happen to be female."
As part of her work for WCF, she has partnered with other groups to support a website dedicated to promoting truth, accuracy, and objectivity, regardless of gender: www.nameitchangeit.org.
She Should Run
To counter the acknowledged reluctance of women to run for office, the WCF launched a program in 2006 called "She Should Run" at both the Democratic and Republican conventions. They work with women from both sides of the aisle who are entering at all levels of government--from school board to Congress. The WCF supports those who include reproductive choices and options as a part of their platform; these are choices that the WCF believes are vital to women's health and well-being.
Those who visit the website will see that anyone can nominate a woman whom they feel should run for office; they can also nominate themselves if they are interested in starting a dialog with WCF about what a candidacy entails. Once a name is received, She Should Run ascertains the woman's level of interest, and then works to be certain she receives the support, training, and resources required to run a campaign. Those candidates who are endorsed by the WCF may also receive financial support.
For more information or to support the WCF, visit www.wcfonline.org.
Numbers Game Shows Women at Risk of Losing Seats in Legislature
By Kyle Cheney
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 26, 2010-- The 2010 election is shaping up to be a mixed
bag for women, with female candidates running for three of six statewide offices but
with women at risk of losing seats in the Legislature, where they are already
underrepresented, a News Service ballot analysis found.
Women hold 51 seats in the 200-member Legislature, but nine are giving up their
seats to retire or run for higher office, and a tenth, Rep. Pam Richardson
(D-Framingham), was defeated in the September primary by Chris Walsh.
In addition, 30 of 41 incumbent women lawmakers on the ballot next week are
facing reelection challenges, while more than half of incumbent men - 63 of
120 - are coasting to reelection unopposed.
Female Democratic lawmakers also face an acutely high challenge rate from a
mostly male field of Republican challengers. Of the 30 female incumbents running
this year, 29 are Democrats. Of those, 26 face GOP challengers and three face
Assistant House Majority Leader Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset), the highest ranking
woman in the House and an active campaigner for Democratic women, predicted that
women would lose seats in next year's Legislature, based on the number seeking
"It's certainly discouraging after a height of 26 percent across the two chambers,"
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, women constitute 24.5
percent of the 7,382 state lawmakers nationwide. Colorado, Vermont and New Hampshire
are at the top of the list, with 38 percent, 37.2 percent and 37 percent female
lawmakers, respectively. At the bottom of the list: South Carolina (10 percent),
Oklahoma (11.4 percent) and Alabama (12.9 percent).
Both major parties cited the difficulty of convincing women to run for office as an
obstacle to greater representation.
"There have been studies that show that in order to get a woman to run she has to be
asked five times," Haddad said. One of those studies is a 2009 report by the Center
for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University that found women are "more likely than men to run for office because they were recruited rather than deciding to run on their own." The report also concluded that women who
receive assurances of support by their political parties and women's organizations
are more likely to run.
"Women tend to have this really interesting notion that you have to be qualified to
run," said Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh said with a chuckle. "Guys are not
constrained by that. Women need to be recruited more. They need to be encouraged,
asked to run. I think the atmosphere for women is getting better every year."
Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Nassour said many women are dissuaded from
running because of family obligations.
"As women ... we pretty much drive the bus when it comes to what's going on
in our homes," she said.
But Nassour also pointed to Republican women running for office this year show she
said "are able to be moms and able to be wives and are able to be career
Sixty-eight women - 41 incumbents and 27 newcomers - will be on next week's
ballot, vying for 62 legislative seats. Many face veteran incumbents who have won
in one election cycle after another.
Asked about the number of women running for the Legislature, Democrats and
Republicans highlighted prospects in this year's crop of candidates: Patricia Lawton
of Bridgewater, Gail Cariddi of North Adams, Patricia Commane of Andover and Denise
Andrews of Orange on the Democratic side; Kimberly Ferguson
of Holden, Kimberly Roy of Sutton, and Kara Fratto of Reading on the Republican side.
"I think we'd be better off if there were more women," said Walsh, the Democratic
Party chair. "Of course, not Republican women. It would be better off
if there were more Democratic women."
"Clearly, women are not proportionally represented either in Washington or Boston,"
Walsh continued. "Women win at the same rate as men. It's just that
they don't run."
The parties also pointed to the state auditor's race, in which Democrat Suzanne Bump
is battling Republican Mary Connaughton, guaranteeing that a woman
will take the office for the first time. Democratic Attorney General Martha
Coakley is up for reelection against Republican challenger James McKenna. A
recent Boston Globe poll showed Coakley up by 21 points with less than two weeks to
But the 2010 election is also just the second since 1982 that features no women
running as Democrats or Republicans for governor or lieutenant governor. In 1986,
Democrat Evelyn Murphy was elected lieutenant governor as Gov. Michael Dukakis's
running mate. In 1990, Democrat Marjorie Claprood ran on an unsuccessful ticket with
then-Boston University president John Silber. In 1998, Republican Jane Swift was
elected lieutenant governor on the ticket with
Gov. Paul Cellucci. In 2002, Democrat Shannon O'Brien ran unsuccessfully for
governor against Republican Mitt Romney, who tapped Kerry Healey as his running
mate. Gov. Deval Patrick defeated Healey in the 2006 race for governor. No women
ran on a major party ticket in 1994, when Republicans Bill Weld and Cellucci
defeated Democrats Mark Roosevelt and Robert Massie.
Nassour, the Republican Party chair, said she has sought women who would be
"viable candidates" to break up "the Beacon Hill boys' club."
Only three incumbent Republican lawmakers are women - Rep. Karyn Polito of
Shrewsbury, who is running for state treasurer, Rep. Elizabeth Poirier of North
Attleborough, who is running unopposed for reelection, and Rep. Sue Gifford of
Wareham who is facing a Democratic challenger.
Nassour said the fact that Republicans set their sights disproportionately on female
incumbents wasn't part of a concerted strategy.
"It's just the way it shakes out," Nassour said. "There would be no reason why I
would go after a woman. I am going after Democratic held seats that I think should
be Republican held seats."
Nassour said women often face questions when running for office that men don't,
citing her own quest to lead the state Republican Party as an example.
"At first when I was running, quite honestly there were a lot of people who
said 'why would you do this, and don't you want to be with your kids?'" she
said. "I'm able to balance everything. The crazier that my life is and the schedule
is, the more I'm able to handle and put in perspective ... and spend the important
moments with my family. It's been wonderful for my daughters. I think it's so good
for them to have a role model."
Advocates for Massachusetts women in politics suggested another reason for the long
odds for legislative gains this year: an increased willingness by candidates,
campaign officials and commentators across the country to level gender-based attacks
on women running for office.
"One of the trends that we're seeing that's concerning to us is the type of
political discourse that's happening on the campaigns," said Priti Rao, executive
director of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, pointing to "the number of
inappropriate comments being made about women candidates."
Rao cited an exchange in the California gubernatorial race in which an aide
to Democrat Jerry Brown called Republican candidate and EBay founder Meg Whitman a
"whore." Rao also pointed to a similar incident in the Melrose Senate race in which
a comedian, speaking at a fundraiser for Republican Craig Spadafora, called his
Democratic opponent Katherine Clark a "whore."
A third example, Rao said, came last month when WRKO producer Bill Cooksey described
Rep. Polito as having a "tight little butt," leading to an on-air rebuke from Polito
"When these sort of sexist comments are being made ... it not only affects the woman
running for that position, it affects all women," she said.
Rao said the caucus hopes to encourage more women to run because when women
run, they win.
"When women overall decide to run, they're winning at equal rates as men," she said.
"There are fewer women who are choosing to run."
Although the loss of seats is still up in the air, the loss of experienced,
veteran women lawmakers is a foregone conclusion. Among those leaving or who have
already left: Sen. Joan Menard (D-Fall River), a lawmaker since 1979;
Rep. Lida Harkins (D-Needham), who has served since 1989; Sen. Marian Walsh, who
has served in the House or Senate since 1989; Sen. Susan Tucker (D-Andover), in the
Senate since 1999; and Rep. Marie St. Fleur (D-Boston), who left to join the Menino
administration earlier this year after 11 years in the Legisalture.
Several veteran women departed two years ago as well: Mary Rogeness, a Longmeadow
Republican; Rep. Patricia Walrath, a Stow Democrat and Pamela Resor, an Acton
Democrat, who compiled a combined 57 years of legislative experience.
Only one female newcomer is guaranteed a win on Election Day: Democrat Gailanne
Cariddi, who is running unopposed to fill the North Adams seat vacated by Rep. Dan
Contrite Lenny Clarke apologizes for 'bad joke'
By Gayle Fee & Laura Raposa
Monday, October 25, 2010
Cambridge comic Lenny Clarke wants everyone to know he's sorry. So very, very sorry . . .
The "Rescue Me" star caused an uproar in Malden last week when he called Democratic state Senate candidate Katherine Clark "a whore" in a joke he told at a fund-raiser for her opponent Craig Spadafora. The two are vying to succeed lieutenant governor wannabe Richard Tisei.
"I'm sorry. I apologize. It was a bad joke, but it was a joke," Clarke told the Track. "I don't know her. I had no malicious intent. But my mother would be ashamed of me. My oor dead mother."
Clarke, who is known for his off-color stand-up routine, opened his set with the crack, "I don't support Katherine Clark because she's my aunt and she's a whore." He then added: "I'm just kidding. She's not my aunt."
Spadafora was forced to apologize for the joke after the bipartisan Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus got all up in his grill.
"Mr. Clarke's remarks, and your tolerance of them, have no place in a campaign, whether as an attempt at humor or otherwise," wrote Priti Rao, executive director of the caucus, in a letter to Spadafora.
The flap came on the heels of a controversy in California when an aide to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape referring to Republican candidate Meg Whitman as a "whore" for cutting a deal to protect police pensions.
"I'm so sorry," Clarke repeated. "And I feel bad for the guy who hired me. He never saw this coming. But I never know what's going to come out of my mouth until I say it."
Spadafora issues apology 'to anyone offended' by comedian's slur
By Carol Brooks Ball and Jim Haddadinemail@example.com
Posted Oct 21, 2010 @ 07:30 PM
Craig Spadafora, the Republican candidate for the Middlesex and Essex state Senate seat, is doing damage control after learning this week that a comedian hired for his recent birthday party/campaign event referred to Spadafora's rival state Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose as a "whore."
In a terse letter from Priti Rao, executive director of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (MWPC), Spadafora was asked to issue an immediate "disavowal" of the comment made by comedian Lenny Clarke, one of two comedians hired to entertain at the political event on Friday, Oct. 15, which was also a celebration of Spadafora's 37th birthday.
Editor's note: In the opening moments of [Friday night's] recording, provided to the Melrose Free Press by the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, comedian Lenny Clarke is reportedly heard calling Senate candidate Katherine Clark, D-Melrose, a "whore," during his comedy routine at an Oct. 15 fundraiser for Clark's Republican opponent, Malden city councilor Craig Spadafora. Spadafora distanced himself from Clarke's comments on Thursday, Oct. 21, and said he was not in the room when the comment was made.
"Mr. Clarke's remarks, and your tolerance of them, have no place in a campaign, whether as an attempt at humor or otherwise," Rao said in her letter, written on Wednesday, Oct. 20. "The statement in Mr. Clarke's 'act' was degrading, slanderous, and sexist, and offensive to all men and women who would not tolerate the use of such ugly language about women."
When contacted by the Melrose Free Press on Thursday, Spadafora said that he was not present when Clarke made the comments, and only caught the last 15 minutes of Clarke's act.
"I wasn't in the room," Spadafora said. "I didn't make the comment. If I heard the comment, I probably would have said something."
Spadafora said a female comedian also performed at the event, going on before Clarke took the stage. During that time, Spadafora said, he left the fundraiser and went downstairs to speak at another event honoring Italian American sports figures that was also taking place at the restaurant, Anthony's of Malden.
"Once the girl comedian started, I went downstairs to talk, and see the event that was happening downstairs at the building," Spadafora told the Free Press.
Statement of Craig Spadafora to the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, sent to the Melrose Free Press Oct. 21:
"Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I was in fact double booked on the night of my Oct. 15 fundraiser, and I was speaking at another event during the first half of Lenny Clarke's act. Upon receipt of your letter however, I was able to receive confirmation through my own sources that there was in fact an off-color joke made about Katherine Clark that included a derogatory term that I object to. On behalf of my campaign, I apologize to anyone who was offended.
"As a husband and a father to a 1-year-old daughter, I do not condone Mr. Clarke's joke that refers to Katherine Clark in a derogatory manner. Mr. Clarke gave me no advance notice that he would be using such material. If he had, I would have asked him not to use the joke.
"Please know that Lenny Clarke does not work for my campaign and his involvement at this event was strictly entertainment in nature. Again, I am sorry if Katherine Clark or any of my guests were offended by jokes the comedian made during his comedy act, and I assure you that Lenny Clarke's remarks are not representative of the spirit of my campaign."
Spadafora said he was contacted Wednesday night, Oct. 20, by Sen. Richard Tisei, a Wakefield Republican and candidate for lieutenant governor with gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker, and asked if he'd received an email from the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus regarding an issue at the fundraiser.
Spadafora said he only read the email message the next morning, Thursday, Oct. 21, after finding the message in his junk e-mail folder. Spadafora said he then contacted two family members who were present at the event and who verified Clarke's comment.
Spadafora said he was in the process of drafting a letter of apology to Clark, though he stopped short of taking responsibility for the incident.
"I can't control Lenny Clarke, to some degree, and it is not a reflection of the Craig Spadafora campaign. We don't condone those kind of messages from anybody."
Rep. Clark was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.
According to the State House News Service, a person who attended the fundraiser said Clarke's joke began with the declaration, "I don't support Katherine Clark because she's my aunt and a whore."
"I'm just kidding," Clarke continued. "She's not my aunt."
Monica Medeiros, Ward 2 alderman and Melrose Republican City Committee vice chairman, told the Free Press Thursday that while she was invited to Spadafora's fundraiser, she was unable to attend because of work commitments. Medeiros said she was, "not really in a position to comment," on the incident, but noted that the comment was not made by Spadafora or his campaign workers.
"I don't know all the facts ... but comedians are comedians," Medieros told the Free Press. "They normally don't check with you on what they say. It's clearly not an appropriate comment, but I think it would be a lot different if Craig said it."
Rao at the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus told the Free Press that she and other MWPC officials viewed a video of the comic's routine.
The SHNS reported that one attendee at the event, Michelle Rolph, 22, of Boston, a supporter of Rep. Clark's candidacy, said she was "shocked" at the joke. A partial video recording of the event, viewed by the SHNS, includes the comedian's "whore" remark, and shows that the audience laughed and hooted after the lines were delivered.
"I understand he's a comedian and he's supposed to be funny but it wasn't funny," she told the SHNS. "I thought it was out of line to be name calling in a campaign like that."
Rolph added that she wasn't familiar with Lenny Clarke's comedy before attending the fundraiser, and added that while she supports Clark for the Senate seat, she does not work for the representative's campaign.
Copyright 2010 Malden Observer. Some rights reserved
WOULD-BE TISEI SUCCESSOR REJECTS COMEDIAN'S COMMENTS
By Kyle Cheney and Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 21, 2010Craig Spadafora, the Malden
Republican running to succeed Sen. Richard Tisei, distanced himself Thursday from remarks made at a fundraiser last week by a comedian who, during a routine, referred to Spadafora's Democratic opponent Katherine Clark as "a whore."
Clark, a second-term state representative from Melrose, declined to comment on the remarks by comedian Lenny Clarke at the Oct. 15th Spadafora fundraiser at Anthony's, a Malden restaurant. But the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus called on Spadafora to repudiate them.
"Mr. Clarke's remarks, and your tolerance of them, have no place in a campaign, whether as an attempt at humor or otherwise," wrote Priti Rao, executive director of the caucus, in an Oct. 20 letter to Spadafora. "The statement in Mr. Clarke's 'act' was degrading, slanderous, and sexist, and offensive to all men and women who would not tolerate the use of such ugly language about women."
In a phone interview, Spadafora said he was not present when Clarke made the comments but said he intended to issue a letter to "apologize on behalf of the campaign."
"I don't agree with what Lenny Clarke said," he added, calling Rep. Clark "a fantastic person." "Where we disagree completely is how to get the state back on track."
A person who attended the fundraiser said Clarke's joke began with the declaration, "I don't support Katherine Clark because she's my aunt and a whore."
"I'm just kidding. She's not my aunt," added Clarke. A partial video of the routine obtained by the News Service confirms his use of the word.
The flap follows a recent controversy in California when an aide to
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape referring to Republican candidate Meg Whitman as a "whore" for cutting a deal to protect police pensions.
Spadafora said the comparison between the two comments doesn't apply because he wasn't even aware of the comment until Wednesday night. "It wasn't between anybody on my campaign," he said.
One attendee at the event, a supporter of Rep. Clark's candidacy, said she was "shocked" at the joke. A partial video recording of the event, which includes Clarke's "whore" remark, shows that the audience laughed and hooted after the lines were delivered.
"I understand he's a comedian and he's supposed to be funny but it wasn't funny. I thought it was out of line to be name calling in a campaign like that," Michelle Rolph, 22, of Boston, told the News Service in an interview.
Rolph said she was not familiar with Lenny Clarke's comedy before the fundraiser. Though she said she was supporting Rep. Clark, she said she did not work for the representative's campaign.
Comedian Kathy Griffin also found herself in hot water earlier this summer after delivering a botched joke on CNN calling U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's daughters "prostitutes."
MWPC in The Herald's Inside Track on Friday, September 17, 2010
We Hear: Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Matthews, Niki Tsongas and more...
That new Boston Celtics center - and alleged computer hacker - Shaquille O'Neal won't do stand-up, but he will hit the stage at his own All-Star Comedy Jam on Oct. 9 at the Wilbur Theatre. Shaq's leaving the shtick to DeRay Davis, Aries Spears, Corey Holcomb and Michael Blackson.
That MSNBC's Chris Matthews will once again emcee the Mass. Women's Political Caucus' annual Abigail Adams Awards on Oct. 7 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. This year's honorees include U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, Suffolk Sheriff Andrea Cabral, WGBH GM Marita Rivero and others.
That Boston Casting is looking for actor wannabes age 24-44 interested in working on an indie flick titled "The Big Ship," starring Jamie Ray Newman . You may remember Newman from "Drop Dead Diva" or "Eastwick." Interested? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MASS. WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS ANNOUNCES 23RD ANNUAL TRIBUTE TO ABIGAIL ADAMS AWARDS HONOREES
August 31, 2010
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus's 23rd Tribute to Abigail Adams Award Ceremony is easily one of the Fall season's most eagerly awaited events. Mark the date of Thursday, October 7 from 6 to 8pm at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel for MWPC's premiere event celebrating women who make a difference.
This year's honorees include: Congresswoman Niki Tsongas; Ruth N. Bramson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts; Sheriff Andrea Cabral, Sheriff Suffolk County; Susan Esper, Partner Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Michal Regunberg, Vice President of Solomon, McCown & Co.; Marita Rivero, Vice President & General Manager for WGBH Radio & Television; The Dolores Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dr. Frances Burke, Founder and President of Integrity International and Professor Emerita of Suffolk University. Other distinguished attendees will also be recognized for their accomplishments and achievements.
"The MWPC is proud to honor these outstanding women," said MWPC Board President, Lora Pellegrini, "Our honorees exemplify excellence and commitment to service. They have broken glass ceilings, been the first women to blaze a trail, and serve as significant role models for women everywhere as they take time in their professional careers and personal life to mentor a new generation of young women."
The MWPC introduced the Tribute to Abigail Adams in 1988. Award recipients are women who have demonstrated through their work and/or their community activism an outstanding commitment to the realization of equal political, economic, and social rights for women. Born in Weymouth, MA in 1744, Abigail Adams was one of the earliest women's advocates with strong beliefs in equal political, economic, and social rights for women. Abigail was the wife of our nation's second President, John Adams, and the mother of six children.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the MWPC Education Fund, a 501c(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.
About the MWPC:
The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus is a multipartisan organization that promotes the participation and involvement of women of all ages in the political process. The organization was founded in 1971 for the purpose of increasing the number of women elected and appointed to public office and public policy positions.
Read on for highlights from Honorees' Biographies:
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas has represented the 5th congressional district since 2007. She is the first woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts in 25 years, and is a dedicated advocate for women and families. Her first vote cast in Congress was for the expansion of children's health care and she has worked continuously to advocate for pay equity for women. Tsongas serves on the House Armed Services Committee where she is working to ensure our servicemen and men have the equipment and protection they need. She recently sponsored a bill to bring new investigative powers into sexual assault cases in the military. Tsongas has a law degree from Boston University and started Lowell's first all-female law practice. Tsongas voted for the federal health care bill and supports the public option as long as it is "self-sufficient, relying on the premiums it collects". However, the Congresswomen did state that she was "very disappointed" at the restrictions on public funding for abortions, which was built into the current version of the bill.
Ruth N. Bramson has spent her career advancing the leadership of women and continues this legacy as the first Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Bramson's past positions include Executive Vice President of Human Resources for National Grid US and Senior Vice President, Human Resources with Shaw's Supermarkets/Star Markets. Additionally, Ms. Bramson served as the Undersecretary of Administration and Finance in the Romney Administration and the first Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Diversity Officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Ms. Bramson serves on the Advisory Board of Junior Achievement, as a co-chair of the Diversity Sub-Committee for the Governor's STEM Council, a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Equal Pay, and is a member of the Women of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) Corporate Advisory Board. She sits on the Board of Governors of Tufts Medical Center, the Board of Overseers for the Mother Caroline Academy & Education Center, and serves as a Trustee of Middlesex Community College. Ms. Bramson received recognition for creating and chairing her nonprofit organization Suited for Success.
Sheriff Andrea Cabral, a native of East Providence, RI, is a graduate of Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and of Suffolk University Law School where she earned her Juris Doctor degree. Breaking barriers for law enforcement women across the state, she is the first female Sheriff in Commonwealth history, wining the position with over 70% of the vote. From 1993-1994, she was director of the Roxbury District Court Family Violence Project. As director she demonstrated her consistent advocacy for women through her prosecution of domestic violence felony cases and the establishment of new administrative policies and procedures for the processing of such cases in the Roxbury District Court. In March 1994, Sheriff Cabral became chief of the Domestic Violence Unit where she supervised and trained district and superior court staff in the preparation and prosecution of major domestic violence felony cases. Sheriff Cabral was then promoted to Chief of District Courts and Community Prosecutions. In this position, she effectively developed district court policies, staff supervision and evaluation tools, training curricula and case management practices in Suffolk County's eight district courts and the Boston Municipal Court. Sheriff Cabral also oversaw the staffing and supervision of all district court community prosecutions programs, which included the Safe Neighborhood Initiatives and Prosecutor in Police Stations (PIPS) Programs. Sheriff Cabral's published works include Obtaining, Enforcing and Defending x.209A Restraining Orders in Massachusetts and co-authored Same Gender Domestic Violence: Strategies for Change in Creating Courtroom Accessibility.
Susan's professional success at Deloitte serves as a role model for other women, and her work as a leader with Deloitte's Women's Initiative is working to open doors for a new generation of Deloitte women professionals in New England and beyond. Susan is an audit partner and leader of Deloitte's financial services industry group in New England and is the northeast regional leader for Deloitte's Women's Initiative (WIN). Established in 1993, this national initiative focuses on the development of Deloitte's women professionals and identifies opportunities for them as future leaders with the firm. It supports Deloitte in its goal to train, develop and mentor professionals at all levels, regardless of gender, and it creates an environment where the best talent chooses to be. In her WIN leadership role, Susan drives the development of programs aimed at accelerating the careers of Deloitte women professionals based in the New England, Tri-State and Philadelphia practices. To extend the influence of WIN beyond Deloitte, she launched the Deloitte New England Women's Leadership Forum, which provides leadership development and networking opportunities for senior executive women from Deloitte's clients. Susan's civic involvement also reflects her commitment to gender equality. She is a member of The Boston Club, an advisory board member for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and an executive council member of the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign. She is a past co-chairperson of the Girl Scout of Eastern Massachusetts Leading Women Awards and the United Way Today's Girls Tomorrow's Leaders Women's Breakfast, and is currently co-chairing the annual corporate fundraising campaign for United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley.
Michal Regunberg is a senior communications executive with experience in health care, government, politics, academia and the media, and has a successful track record in public relations, issues management and government and community relations. While at Brandeis University, where she served for 10 years as the Vice President of Public Affairs, she revitalized the communications office at Brandeis and built it into a dynamic public affairs operation by attracting new talent and refocusing staff efforts to better position the institution. Before joining Brandeis, she had a career in government, politics, and the media. She served as press secretary for Boston University President John Silber, during his 1990 gubernatorial campaign, and as communications director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare, where she helped position Employment and Training and Health Choices during the presidential campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis. As a Vice President at Solomon McCown, she is a mentor, as well as, a manager for the young women professionals who look to her for guidance as they build their careers in communications. Michal has also been an adjunct lecturer at both Boston University's College of Communication and Brandeis University, where she taught the course "Race, Gender and the Media."
Marita Rivero oversees the programming, marketing, and administration of WGBH's national radio production activity and its local television production unit, Boston Media Productions. Rivero was named manager of WGBH Radio in 1988, and award-winning radio productions developed under her leadership, including the daily global news program The World, the Marketplace Health Desk, Sound & Spirit, and the international music service Art of the States. Rivero has been honored with numerous awards for her achievements, among them, a 2007 Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce for Achievement in Arts and Education; the first Image Award for Vision and Excellence from Women in Film and Video/New England; and induction into the YWCA's Academy of Women Achievers. Rivero holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University, and has participated in post-graduate training at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and the Stanford and Wharton schools of business. Rivero serves on the NPR Board as Member Station Manager, and she is Chair of the National Black Programming Consortium Board.
Dr. Frances Burke is the Founder and President of Integrity International, a Boston-based global consulting firm dedicated to strengthening Ethical Leadership, Qualitative Decision-Making and Change with Integrity. The company trains Government, Corporate and NGO executives throughout the world, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Fran has worked tirelessly to elect progressive women to office in Massachusetts and nationally. In 1950, her Simmons
College Senior Thesis developed a groundbreaking magazine entitled Women's World. She participated actively in Operation Speak-out for the Hilary Clinton presidential campaign. Fran was appointed to the U.S. Constitution Program Committee, which was the national celebration of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Fran emphasized the role women played in the founding and development of our nation by her work with the former First Ladies entitled "Women & the Constitution." She also organized the Massachusetts State Commemoration of Eleanor Roosevelt's year-long Centennial under Governor Michael Dukakis. She has written and spoken about her heroines Mercy Otis Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton.
As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP and Deloitte & Touche LLP, a separate subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.