BE A PART OF HISTORY! With the ratification of Nevada in 2017 and Illinois in 2018 there is a renewed effort to get the ERA passed in the remaining 3 states needed. Here in Florida, BPW is joining forces with the League of Women Voters and the Athena Society to get this key element of the #1 Plank of our Public Policy Platform passed. Our strategy is to collect resolutions from cities and counties advocating the addition of those crucial 24 words to the Constitution of the United States. This is a bipartisan effort focused on pay equity and to address the fact that women are underrepresented in the board room, government, sports, and throughout the working worlds most high paying professions.
BPW / St. Petersburg-Pinellas has the opportunity to be a part of this effort THIS WEEK on Thursday, August 15 at 2:45 PM at our City Council Meeting. Join your sisters in the gallery to witness this moment in history. If you wish to speak in support of the resolution, please contact info@BPWStPetePinellas.org for more information. Members, if you attend, be sure to wear your BPW name tag.
Talking about sensitive social issues, such as unintended pregnancy, can be tough. Knowing the facts can help in conversations with those unsettled by topics like teen sexuality or abortion. Amy Weintraub, Reproductive Rights Program Director for Progress Florida, will lead a discussion on the state of women’s access to reproductive health care, including abortion care, in Florida and nationwide. She will discuss recent activities in Tallahassee and Washington as they relate to reproductive rights and what we could face in a post-Roe world.
Amy Weintraub is the Reproductive Rights Program Director for Progress Florida and is a leader on the statewide Floridians for Reproductive Freedom coalition. She was one of the leads for Women’s March St. Pete 2017 and is an active with the League of Women Voters, the National Organization for Women, and the South St. Petersburg Democratic Club. A seasoned organizer, Amy has worked most of her adult life identifying, educating, and activating citizens toward social justice. Prior to moving to Florida in 2015, Amylived in her home state of West Virginia where she led efforts within organizations such as WV FREE (West Virginia Focus: Reproductive Education and Equality), Covenant House of WV, and Planned Parenthood. Amy lives in St. Petersburg with her spouse and two children.
On Thursday March 22, Membership Chair, Tiki Bates and Equality Day Tea Chair, Lily Alcott attended Defending Women’s Reproductive
Rights and Freedoms: The Curious Case of the Macedonian Abortion Law of 2013 at USFSP at the invitation of member and USFSP Professor, Judithanne McLauchlan. Tiki and Lily had a table where they had the opportunity to not only hear the speaker Professor Dr. Karolina Ristova-Aasterud from Macedonia but also to meet and speak with many of the attendees about our mission.
On January 18, BPW welcomes Amy Foster, St. Petersburg City Council, District 8, who will discuss how working women can succeed, how to get involved in the city and how the small business enterprise ordinance has changed. Amy is a Past Chair of the City Council. Professionally, Amy is the Executive Director of the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay, in which capacity she oversees fundraising and day-to-day operations for the Foundation. She previously served as the National Collaborative Network Manager for the EdLab Group’s National Girls Collaborative Project, a national project focused on gender equity and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Ms. Foster also worked for nearly ten years with Girl Scouts of West Central Florida as the Director of Girl and Adult Leadership Development. Ms. Foster is very active in the community, serving as Community Vice President for the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin, a member of the STEM Advisory Board for Girls Inc. of Pinellas, former Vice President for St. Pete Pride, founding board member of the Industrial Arts Center in Gulfport and member of the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association, among others. Ms. Foster received her BA in psychology and sociology from Centenary College of Louisiana.
Join us on October 5 as we welcome the candidates for St. Petersburg City Council: District 6. This district which includes the core of downtown St. Petersburg from I-275 east to the water stretching from Old Northeast south to Colony Point has been served by outgoing city council member Karl Nurse. In an incredibly close primary election, 2 candidates emerged to vie for this very important position: Gina Driscoll and Justin Bean. We are delighted that both candidates have accepted our invitation and have an opportunity to share their vision for not only District 6, but St. Petersburg as a whole.
Gina has lived in St. Petersburg for over 10 years and is dedicated to making the city a better place to live, work, and raise a family for all of our residents. That’s why she’s endorsed by outgoing District 6 City Councilman Karl Nurse.
She is the President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, and has led several projects to improve our neighborhoods including the Clean Waterways Project, renovations at the historic Shuffleboard Club, and donation drives for food, diapers, and other necessities of Daystar Life Center. She has also spoken before City Council regarding issues important to residents, such as the Al Lang Stadium referendum, to ensure that their voices are heard.
Gina has also worked to improve the business climate in St. Petersburg for both large and small business. She serves on the Board of the Downtown Business Association, the Organizational Committee of the Central Avenue Council, and is a member of both the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. While she worked in advertising for the Tampa Bay Times and other local firms, Gina built strong relationships with local businesses and helped them develop successful marketing strategies. In 2015, she also served on the city’s Urban Construction Best Practices Task Force.
She understands the importance of tourism as an economic driver in St. Petersburg. She’s been a leading voice supporting the Sunshine Street Team which is a group of volunteers who help tourists have a better experience in St. Petersburg.
Justin Bean was born and raised in the St. Petersburg area. He is currently the Business Development and Sales Manager at Reusable Transport Packaging, a growing web based sales and marketing company headquartered in Downtown St. Petersburg. Bean currently Chairs the Williams Park Partnership and SmartBurg. He has served as Chair of SPYP in 2016, was appointed by the Mayor to the Pier Uplands Selection Committee, and currently serves on the City’s Complete Streets Committee. Previously, he served as Economic Development and Arts Chair for SPYP and continues to work as a mentor and serve as Board Chairman for SailFuture, a local Nonprofit that helps keep at risk men from returning to the juvenile justice system.
Elections are always an exciting time for our organization. We are fortunate to have a diverse and strong membership who believe in the mission of BPW and the importance of a strong leadership team. BPW/SPP is entering an exciting time with new leadership this summer at the state level from our local organization.
Our mission of building powerful women professionally, personally and politically remains as important now as it did 50 years ago. We encouraged all members to be a part of electing our new leadership. On April 6 we did elect our officers for 2017-2018. Tami Simms then spoke about The Education Foundation of the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.
Then on April 20, BPW/FL President-Elect Alizza Punzalan-Randle installed the new officers for 2017-2018: Liz Illgen, President; Sheila Barry-Oliver, President-Elect; Jane Byers, 1st Vice President; Gretta Paige Bellas, 2nd Vice President; Lily Alcott, Secretary; and Jill Wenner, Treasurer. Tami Simms will serve as Parliamentarian.
To recognize National Equal Pay Day and to raise awareness of pay equity and wage discrimination, Business and Professional Women (BPW)/St. Petersburg-Pinellas will hold its 14th annual “Unhappy Hour” on April 4, the symbolic day that the average woman in the United States finally earns the same amount of pay that her male counterpart earned in the previous calendar year.
By Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan
PLEASE NOTE: BPW St. Petersburg-Pinellas is a non-partisan organization. The following is a report from one of our members. Any opinions expressed are that of the author and not the organization which does not endorse any political party or candidate.
In the early years of our republic, presidential nominees were selected by congressional caucus – a meeting of all party members in Congress who would select their party’s presidential candidate. Later, with the development of mass party organizations, presidential candidates were chosen by national convention. The first political party convention was held by the Anti-Masonic Party in 1831. The Democratic Party copied this idea in 1832 to endorse President Andrew Jackson for a second term. National nominating conventions remained the effective basis for presidential selection until 1968.
The process has evolved so that it is no longer in the proverbial smoke-filled backrooms where nominees are selected, but instead delegates are chosen through state caucuses and primaries. Lately, the national nominating conventions have been seen more as coronations of a nominee who was known well before the gavel struck the podium to open the convention. However, conventions still perform important functions – dealing with the party rules that set policy for the next four years and drafting the party’s platform that outlines the party stance on a range of important issues. Conventions are also a great opportunity for the parties to gain prime time media coverage to draw attention to their platform and candidates – and to kick off the general election campaign season.
I participated in the Democratic National Committee Conventions in Chicago in 1996, Los Angeles in 2000, Boston in 2004, Denver in 2008, Charlotte in 2012, and Philadelphia in 2016.
This year I attended the Convention in Philadelphia with my husband, Ramsay, who was a Hillary delegate and one of the whips in the Florida delegation. Days start very early: we needed to be at the Florida Delegation Breakfast by 7:00 am to pick up credentials. And during breakfast we get updates about the day’s events and activities, and we hear from leaders from around the country – many of whom are also speaking on the floor of the convention. Senator Tim Kaine, Governor Howard Dean, Senator Bernie Sanders, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Al Franken, Governor Terry McAuliffe and so many other national and state leaders. It seemed like we had a dozen special guest speakers every morning. Then there are caucus meetings, fundraisers, receptions and other events. For example, we attended a reception with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (both Ramsay and I worked for her at different times) and a reception with President Bill Clinton (with other former staffers). We packed as much in as we could until it was time to head over to the convention hall. We tried to get to the Wells Fargo Center no later than 3:00 pm as the gavel went down around 4:00 pm. There were so many speakers and special guests beginning at 4:00 pm all the way up until the prime time slots. We left the arena around midnight and gradually made it back to the hotel. Of course, there were other events and receptions that went into the wee hours of the morning. We were usually back to our room after 2:00 am, and then we had to be back at the Florida breakfast again by 7:00 am.
It certainly takes a lot of stamina to keep pace with the schedule – but one is fueled by the adrenaline and the excitement of participating in such an historic event. And, for Ramsay and me, conventions are like Old Home Week – we see friends and former colleagues from all over the country.
We even saw a little bit of Philadelphia! We were engaged at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, and we are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this year – so a selfie at the “LOVE” sculpture was a must – and we got up to the top of City Hall to see the William Penn statue up close. On our way from the hotel to the airport we jumped out to see the Rocky statue by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And, of course, we had soft pretzels and cheesesteaks. (Convention volunteers welcomed us at the PHL airport with Twinkies!)
For me, the highlight of every convention is watching the roll call vote. Each state shares a little something about that state and its history and its people – along with casting the vote for presidential nominee, of course. I celebrate our diversity, and I always look forward to hearing from all over the country – and the world! (Democrats Abroad have a vote – along with Democrats in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Marianas islands.)
I had the privilege of being on the floor with the Florida delegation when the roll call vote was taken on Tuesday night. Vermont went last – so that Bernie Sanders could be the one to make it official that Hillary would be the Democratic nominee – as a sign of unity and solidarity.
After the vote, Meryl Streep presented a video montage of women in American political history.
That night, we made history.
For the first time, a woman became the nominee for a major political party for President of the United States of America.
With all of the excitement of the convention – Katy Perry’s performance of “Rise” and “Roar” just before Hillary accepted the nomination – and Hillary’s speech — the balloons dropping (and those were some big balloons that night!) – none of that compares to the moment on Tuesday night when history was officially made as the delegates cast their votes.
There is much work to do between now and the election on November 8th to ensure that history is made – again – in electing our first woman president. Let’s break that “highest and hardest glass ceiling.”
Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan is a member of BPW St. Petersburg-Pinellas, past Legislative Chair for our local organization and Associate Professor of Political Science at USF St. Petersburg