By Kim Huynh hopepaclogojp

When HOPE-PAC President Monica Rodriguez ran in 2007 for a seat on the L.A. City Council, some people told her to focus on raising her children instead. “You don’t say those things to men. You don’t tell them to focus on being a father,” Rodriguez reflects.

As a former executive to the California Association of Realtors, she had traveled extensively while managing to keep her work and family life in balance—prioritizing the two hadn’t been the issue. Instead, the election ran Rodriguez through an unanticipated financial gauntlet, against adversaries with the support of long-established political machines and institutions. Although her campaign had been competitive, proper resources might have made the difference.

Rodriguez’s case illustrates a common problem Latinas encounter as they seek to enter the political arena: they may not have equal access to the deepest pockets, or to wealthy donors willing to write checks. HOPE-PAC stands for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality – Political Action Committee. As California’s only political network to raise campaign funds specifically for Latina candidates, it aims to mitigate this problem by fundraising and providing the early, essential dollars when financial support for a campaign is critical—especially in a first run for office. In doing so, the organization aims to promote and increase the active participation of Latinas in all aspects of the political process, be it for elective office at the local and state levels, or on commissions and policy-making boards.

Among the list of candidates HOPE-PAC has successfully endorsed are Nury Martinez, when she ran for school board, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia and Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod.

Committed to more than fundraising, HOPE-PAC hopes to establish a network of women helping women, and leave a legacy of successfully elected candidates reaching out to help current or potential candidates. “That’s why synergy with close the gap CA is so important,” Rodriguez notes. “We want to see more women elected—while ensuring that experienced Latinas are not overlooked.”

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4 Reasons Women Should Run for Office

by Donna FryeDonna-Frye

First, more women should run for office so we can change the fundamental political rules that are in place – rules that allow someone like [former San Diego Mayor] Bob Filner to abuse his power for so many years without being challenged. Rules that tell us not to report something that our boss does but does not want reported in order to maintain the status quo. In other words, cover it up, do your job and keep your mouth shut.

Second, more women should run to redistribute the balance of power in our political system. We need to stop allowing men to decide what is best for us, especially when it comes to our health and finances. We don’t need  legislation that intrudes into the privacy of our doctor’s office and we don’t need legislators who believe it is OK for us to be paid less for doing the same work as our male counterparts.

Third, women’s voices are needed because we bring a different perspective to politics…we should not be afraid or fearful of running for office or being called names or challenged by those who do not have the courage to do what we all know we can do…

Instead, we should be more fearful of what will happen to our city, our state, our nation or our universe when women don’t run…when they don’t step up and out of their comfort zone and take care of business….

Finally,  more women should run because women are less likely to be involved in sexual abuse of power or sexual harassment. Most of us are smarter than that and frankly we are too busy doing our real work and caring about the community.

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