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Weekend Reading on Women's Representation May 19,2023

Dear Readers,

What an amazing week for women's representation! This week's Weekend Reading features stories of women's wins and journeys to elected office in the United States and abroad. RepresentWomen will be excited to see what these women do next.

Tuesday's Elections (Yes, there were elections!): Jacksonville, FL

As FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich put it, "You wouldn't think that a random Tuesday in an odd year would be full of interesting elections." But that's what we got. Notably, Jacksonville, Florida -- currently one of the few cities in the US with a Republican mayor -- elected Donna Deegan, a Democrat.

Deegan will be the city's first woman and second Democratic mayor, beating Daniel Davis, a Republican backed by governor Ron DeSantis. 

Jacksonville is the most populous Florida city, with about 950,000 residents. Donna Deegan, a Democrat, earned 52% of the vote, beating Daniel Davis. About 217,000 people voted, a turnout of 33%....

“We have a new day in Jacksonville because people chose unity over division – creating a broad coalition of people across the political spectrum that want a unified city.”...

“I can’t tell you how many people from across the political spectrum reached out to me and said, ‘We want you to know, I’ve never voted for a Democrat before. I’m going to vote for you.’”

Women’s Representation in Turkey at All-Time High

Women in Turkey will now hold around 20% of seats in the Turkish parliament. This change is attributed to systemic reforms such as gender quotas, as well as women's empowerment in Turkey. This example is a reminder that improved electoral systems increase women's representation in government.

Women's representation in the Turkish parliament will be at the highest level in history after Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

According to the unofficial [election] results, 121 women secured seats in the 600-member parliament.

The female representation rate, which was 17.1% in the previous elections, rose to 20.1% this year.

The Green Left Party has the highest female representation rate with 30 women out of 61 lawmakers in parliament. This was followed by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Good Party (Iyi Party), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

A total of 50 female deputies from the AK Party, 30 from the CHP and the Green Left Party, six from the Iyi Party, four from the MHP, and one from the Turkish Workers' Party, entered the parliament.

Cherelle Parker on Track to Become Philadelphia's First Black Mayor after Historic Win in Primary Election

Long-awaited change may come to the City of Brotherly Love thanks to Cherelle Parker, a former Democratic member of the City Council of Philadelphia, representing the Ninth District.

Democratic nominee Parker is the frontrunner ahead of the general election in November 2023. 

In a statement released by her campaign, Parker says she is “thrilled to have received the trust” of voters.

Parker has received support from her mentor, former City Councilmember Marian Tasco, who expressed her pride by saying of the mayoral candidate: “She’s very smart and she knows how to work with people, she will do very well.” ...

Catherine Hicks, President of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, and publisher of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun says Parker’s victory marks a win for women in politics.

“It’s really exciting because it’s another glass ceiling that’s broken. Women and Black women especially have always been underappreciated,” said Hicks.

As the city’s 100th mayor, Parker will be both the first woman, and the first Black woman, to be mayor of Philadelphia, a city where more than 50% of Democratic primary voters are Black.

Her campaign focused on restoring middle-class neighborhoods, public safety, and education. She’s promised to hire 300 new foot and bicycle police officers for a force struggling to fill vacancies. She has also proposed extending the school day from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and said she would work with state leaders to more than double the minimum wage.

Former State Rep. Leslie Love Announces Run for United States Senate

Women are stepping up to lead across Michigan, and on Monday, former state Representative Leslie Love announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate. If she wins, this will make her the third-ever Black woman elected to the Senate in the history of our country. Sheldon Krause reports in the Lansing State Journal:

“Michiganders deserve a proven progressive leader with a track record of delivering results,” Love said in a statement. “We want to demonstrate to people that government can work when we elect a leader from the people, by the people, who put the people first.”

Love, a former representative of Detroit who served from 2015-2020, said that her mother has served as an inspiration for entering the race.

“My mother’s dignity is important. Michigan families and healthcare workers deserve that same respect and support,” she said. “We’ll keep MAGA Republicans from slashing Social Security and Medicare, and we will work to make a system that respects being able to afford to grow old.”

Slotkin, the most prominent Democrat to officially announce their candidacy, raised over $1 million on the first day of her campaign and around $3 million total as of April. But Love says that fundraising isn’t the most important factor in the race.

“This election is about more than who raises the most money,” Love said. “This campaign is about giving people a choice. It’s about representation.”

I was very glad to meet former NJ governor Christie Todd Whitman at a lovely luncheon organized by the incredible Lindsey Drath - CEO of the Forward Party & RepresentWomen's newest board member! Both Lindsey and governor Whitman spoke about their support for ranked choice voting & other measures to build a strong democracy.

Thanks to Andrea Dew Steele, Nicole Bailey and I were able to attend the EMILY's List gala this week! I loved the Smash the Patriarchy cocktails and the chance to chat with a lot of amazing women including:

Former DNC chair Donna Brazile

Angela Alsobrooks, county executive of Prince Georges County, MD and candidate for the United States Senate in Maryland

Ellen Malcolm, EMILY's List founder whom I met while working for woman member of Congress Jolene Unsoeld in 1990!

Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez from Washington State

Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez from New Mexico

Maryland state delegate Jheanelle Wilkins & Maryland comptroller Brooke Lierman

Finally, I enjoyed speaking about movement building at Open Secrets conference on Data & Democracy this week -- it's been great to make connections in the world of money and politics and to celebrate the terrific leadership of Sheila Krumholz!

That's all for this week! Have a great weekend.

Cynthia Richie Terrell

P.S. Latinas Represent is having a webinar event on May 30th at 8pm. The webinar will be a conversation with Dr. Yanira Hernandez about Latina mental health and public service. Register today!

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