The head of an influential group that is aiming to elect more female candidates says “women voters who are fed up, angry and want change” are changing the actual political dynamic ahead of the crucial midterm elections.
Stephanie Schriock, the president of the EMILY’s List, told the news sources that she’s seeing unprecedented political engagement from women that had started with the Women’s March in response to President Trump’s inauguration.
Schriock further said that she believes women getting into the politics are being galvanized by the allegations of sexual harassment and assaults by powerful men that have embroiled some lawmakers on the Capitol Hill.
“These women marched, they went home, they organized, they felt that they weren’t alone,” Schriock had said in an interview.
Around 22,000 women have reached out to the group about running for office next year and about half of these are under the age of 45. They represent all 50 states. EMILY’s List has so far held more than 20 trainings across the U.S. that are structured to help them prepare and launch bids.
“I believe that #MeToo is coming out of all of this moment,” Schriock added.
After the wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations against the producer and Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein, women had started sharing their own stories of dealing with sexual harassment through the “Me Too” social media campaign.
“So whether it’s #MeToo or coming to EMILY’s List to run for office or organizing in their local communities … I think this is all coming together that women are standing by each other and realizing that we’ve got to take our future in our hands for our communities and our country,” Schriock had said.
The Weinstein stories set off a huge cascade of allegations that have roiled the media and entertainment industries. The political world and Washington are facing a similar reckoning as both parties grapple with the fallout.
Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused earlier this month of initiating a sexual encounter with a minor back in 1979, when he was 32, throwing a curveball into the Dec. 12’s special election. And on Capitol Hill, Senator Al Franken was accused of groping and forcibly kissing a radio news anchor in 2006, while Representative John Conyers Jr. had reportedly settled a wrongful dismissal settlement after a former staffer had claimed she was fired for resisting his sexual advances.
Members on both sides of the aisles have called on Moore to withdraw from the race and some of the Republicans have even floated expulsion if he wins. But most of the lawmakers haven’t demanded that Franken or Conyers step down, though many have called for an ethics probe into both.
Schriock had said that these allegations are a cultural problem that must be immediately addressed. But when asked if Franken should step aside, she said that the Senate Ethics Committee process should play out first.
“Obviously any sort of harassment, discrimination, unfit environment for work is inappropriate and unacceptable and that needs to be dealt with,” Schriock had said in the interview.