Woman2Woman, Are You Ready to Run Event
April 11, 2017
Leah McCallum, Regional Director for Sen. Gary Peters kicked off the ‘Are You Ready to Run?’ event held Tuesday evening at the Workshop Brewery 221 Garland St, Warehouse District, in Traverse City, to a full house of both women and men interested in learning what it takes to run for appointed boards, township offices, city councils, and elected partisan positions.
Tiyi (Antoinette) Schippers an artist/musician, teacher, activist, organizer, and twice elected city council member from Cadillac shared that from participating in the peace vigil in front of the Nixon Whitehouse at age 14 to The Women's March in Washington in January, she has followed her creed that if you see a good fight, get in it. There is always something people can agree on even though they have differing politics. Most people want what is good for their communities although they may have differing visions about how to go about achieving that goal. She advised however, not be afraid to do what is right, relating her experience challenging the neo-Nazis National Socialist Party in Cadillac. There are slots open in your community from appointed boards to elected offices that need filling. Don’t be afraid to jump in and run.
The keynote speaker of the evening was State Rep. Donna Lasinski from Michigan’s 52nd House District. She was a community leader & successful small-business owner. She served as the treasurer for the Ann Arbor School Board and director of the Washtenaw County Association of School Boards. Rep. Lasinski earned a degree from UofM in business administration and her MBA from Northwestern before deciding to run for elected office.
Rep. Lasinski explained that she has never tried to engage in changing anyone’s values or political position. She feels that we need to do more than just run opposition. We need to step up to the plate and say ‘Yes’ to the challenges of the moment. She said women of her generation didn’t have to face a lot of the discrimination women of the 60’s and 70’s had to battle. They did a great job but the battle has not been won regarding women holding office. In the Michigan State House presently, women only represent one fifth of the whole Congress. There is only one woman in the Senate. Women are not being talked down to, over-ruled, or misrepresented. They are simple not at the table in so many places in our local, regional, and state governments.
She explained that running for political office is a lot about the math. There are smart people who can help you with this problem. Data about your district is available for free. Running and winning is mainly about having community based conversations around working on solutions to solve problems. People wonder can we women keep up our momentum after the March. She advised, pick your interest. Find your affinity. That will help you stick with your resolve. Then run.
Tiyi Schippers wrapped up by saying that just because you don’t win your bid for office doesn’t mean you have failed. You will have inspired people. You will have learned a great deal. You will have established precinct captains. Share your lists. And run again.
TJ Andrews, Vice President of the GT County Democratic Party admonished that while 40% of Grand Traverse County votes Democratic, we have only one Democrat elected official, John Snow who won a seat on the Parks Commission. Most names on the ballot here are unopposed. Democrats need to be stepping up and running for office. She invited anyone interested to attend the GT Dems sponsored candidate training to be held Saturday, April 22 at the Michigan Education Ass. offices at 1745 Barlow St., Traverse City, from 9 to 3 pm. Attendance for members is only $15, and $30 for nonmembers, a unique opportunity.
After a question and answer period, the crowd mingled, net-working with prominent community leaders and would be candidates such as TC Mayor Jim Carruthers, Betsy Coffia, Lon Johnson, and newcomer Matt Morgan who hopes to challenge Republican Rep. Jack Bergman in 2018.
GT Dems and Member