Create a Congress that Actually Governs by Sarah Baker

By at October 9, 2013 | 2:00 pm | Print

Create a Congress that Actually Governs by Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker

Congress is such a huge disappointment, amirite? This week in particular, members are acting like petulant children, drunk with power and — from some reports — also booze.

What if I told you that researchers have found there is a certain group of people who work harder in elected office, introduce more bills, and participate more vigorously in key legislative debates1?

You would probably want to replace the clowns in Congress with those people, right?

Well, those people are women. And it’s clearly a problem that women make up less than 20% of Congress. But you can be part of the solution: ask a woman to run for local office. Here’s how:

  1. Make the ask . . . more than once. After asking sincerely in person at least once, be creative — maybe send a singing telegram, or write it on a cake, or put it on a billboard that she passes regularly. However you need to do it, just get it done.

  1. Help her make inroads with a local political party. Local party support is often key to getting elected even at the local level, so offer to be her wing-person when she goes to local party events and meetings, and introduce her to relevant people you may know.

  1. Support her as she runs for local office. Knock on doors, host a fundraiser, get everyone you know to vote for her for county council/school board/water commission.

  1. Help her succeed. When the zoning board meetings run late into the night, offer to help with any personal needs she might have, from errands to pet care to family stuff.

  1. Encourage her to pursue higher office. After she’s done such a great job as a local elected official, chances are that you won’t be the only one pushing her to run for state legislature or Congress.

  1. Repeat steps one through five until we have gender parity and then some in congress.

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Sarah Baker, Creative Director at the New Organizing Institute (NOI) and a former staffer for local, grassroots campaigns. NOI trains organizers to build and manage effective movements by integrating tried-and-true community organizing, cutting-edge digital strategy, and data-driven decision making. NOI provide free access to revolutionary tools, technologies, and research to help campaigns reach the next level.

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1Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (2011, June 11). When It Comes to Scandal, Girls Won’t Be Boys The New York Times.


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