Nearly Spring Social – March 13 in Colorado Springs

Does the thought of getting on a board or running for office seem overwhelming? We will demystify the process! Learn how everyday women just like you are doing it.

Our special guests so far:

  • El Paso County Commissioner Holly Williams
  • D-11 School Board Member Mary Coleman
  • Candidate for U.S. Congress Jillian Freeland
  • former State House candidate Maile Foster

Join us for our Nearly Spring Social! Come talk politics, and meet elected women officials and women candidates. There’s no admission fee. Drinks and food are available for purchase. Donations will be accepted to further the work of Colorado 50-50.

Location: Coquette’s Bistro, 616 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs.

Date & Time: Friday, March 13, 2020, 6-8 PM

Winter Social 2020

You won’t want to miss our Winter Social!

It’s happening Sunday, January 26, 5-6:30 PM, at Monroe’s Lounge at the Best Western at I-25 and 34 in Loveland.

This is an enjoyable and informal local opportunity to meet people interested in promoting women in leadership, as well as candidates, and elected officials. 
The event is free with a cash bar. Donations furthering the work of Colorado 50-50 are encouraged and will be happily accepted.

Our special guests include:

  • State Senator Joann Ginal
  • State Senator Vicki Marble
  • State Representative Jeni Arndt
  • Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey
  • Windsor Mayor and candidate for Weld County Commissioner Kristie Melendez
  • Fort Collins City Councilwoman Julie Pignataro
  • Estes Park Town Councilwoman Carlie Bangs
  • Loveland City Councilwoman Kathi Wright
  • Evans Town Councilwoman Ally Johnson
  • Thompson School Board Director Lori Hvizda Ward
  • Candidate for U.S. Senate Lorena Garcia
  • Candidate for State Representative Holly Herson
  • Candidate for State Representative Yara Zokaie
  • Candidate for Larimer County Commission Kim Akeley-Charron
  • Candidate for Larimer County Commission Jody Shadduck-McNally

By the way, if you are an elected official, former elected official, or candidate, we would love to include you in this event! We will be updating this list here and on social media. Please let us know if you are attending.

We look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday, January 26!

Dear Denver Post – You Need More Women Opinion Writers

Woman reading a Denver Post opinion page, out of which the text of male writers has been cut, leaving many empty spaces.

Dear Editor,

As an avid reader of the Denver Post and the Perspective section, I am regularly disappointed with the lack of women’s voices – and those of people of color – on your pages. Recently, I was shocked to count six guest columns that were not only all from men, but appeared to be all from white men.

Why does Jon Caldara get to take up so much space? Or Doug Friednash? Or Ian Silverii?

There’s nothing wrong with hearing from these – or any other – white males. I’m sure they’re fine people, and they can write. For the record, white males are some of my closest friends.

The problem is that the opinion pages should more accurately reflect the population of Colorado. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that almost half of Coloradans are female. Of all Coloradans, about 68 percent are white, 22 percent are Hispanic or Latino, just under 5 percent are black or African-American, 3.5 percent are Asian, and about 1.5 percent are Native American.

Knowing these figures, it is interesting to know some other facts. A Byline Survey by The OpEd Project in 2012 found that women were penning just 20 percent of opinions in traditional U.S. publications. That’s not anywhere close to 50-50.

Also concerning to people like me who are working to get more women elected is research from Who Leads Us showing that even though white men make up 30 percent of the population, they hold 64 percent of elected offices. While people of color (both men and women) make up 39 percent of the U.S. population, they hold only 10 percent of elected positions. For women of color specifically, the numbers are the worst – 20 percent of people and only 4 percent of seats.

Not only are women absent in seats of power, sometimes they are invisible in men’s commentary about politics. More than once I have read pieces that did not even mention that there were women candidates running in a given race. Women candidates have enough challenges without being casually erased from the opinion page.

These discrepancies have consequences – both in the world of ideas and in the world of policy. We are missing different life experiences, other ways of thinking about things, and valuable viewpoints. As a society, we make better policy decisions when there are diverse voices at the table. Many studies of government and business have shown this to be true.

The good news is women have opinions!

I was so concerned about the lack of women opinion writers that I decided to try to help. I spent some time rounding up a list of women with opinions. The women on this list are diverse in their race, their political party, their age, and their geography.

These women are ready to write columns for you:

  • Cynthia Coffman
  • Paula Cole
  • Melanie Dubin
  • Rebekah Henderson
  • Alice Madden
  • Amber McReynolds
  • Confidence Omenai
  • Vanessa Quintana
  • Elizabeth Skewes
  • Maya Siegel
  • Suzi Q. Smith
  • Kristin Strohm
  • Emma Tang
  • Calandra Vargas-O’Hanlan
  • and me.

This is a brief list. I’m sure that there are many more women who would be willing to lend their voices to the conversations happening in your paper.

Expanding the number of diverse women thought leaders is especially urgent as we approach not only the next legislative session, but also a very consequential presidential election and U.S. Senate election. I urge you to add more women writers to your rotation of columnists.

Erin Hottenstein
Founder
Colorado 50-50

Encouraging Women To Run For Office

Colorado 50-50 presents a Friday, Oct. 4 event that will help demystify the process of running for office. Event organizers hope the panel discussion followed by networking will encourage more women to become candidates. The event – called Winning With Women – is being put on by Colorado 50-50, a nonpartisan group of concerned citizens that wants to promote gender parity in public life.

“When women run for office, they win just as often as men win,” said Colorado 50-50 Founder Erin Hottenstein. “So why aren’t more women in office? Because they don’t run.”

“Once women are in office, they’re good for the system,” she continued. “They seek more citizen input. They tend to facilitate and encourage cooperation.”

Joining the panel discussion will be Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette, former Republican State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and Democratic State Representative Leslie Herod. DeGette was elected to Congress in 1996, continues to serve, and is running again in 2020. She is one of only four women in Colorado history to have served in Congress. Coffman was elected in 2014 and served four years, during which time she ran for governor. She is only one of two women in Colorado history to have served as Attorney General. Herod was elected to the state house in 2016, where she continues to serve. She was the first LGBTQ African-American to be elected to the state legislature.

After speaking at a Winning With Women training, former Fort Collins Mayor Susan Kirkpatrick shared, “When women are elected to public office, they get things done. Research suggests that women perceive and use power differently than men do. There are benefits to communities when women participate in public policy making.”

The panel discussion will be followed by a networking session, which organizers hope will foster new connections among women who are curious about running and people who want to support women running for office.

Winning With Women takes place on Friday, Oct. 4, 6-9 p.m., at Lindsay Auditorium in Sturm Hall, University of Denver, 2000 E. Asbury, Denver, CO, 80208. Tickets are free for students with student ID, $15 regular admission, or higher amounts to cover students and support Colorado 50-50. Tickets can be purchased through EventBrite. Light refreshments will be served.

Childcare will be available for a small fee, provided that an RSVP is received by Oct.1. Scholarships are available. Please contact Erin Hottenstein at erin@colorado5050.org.

Paid parking is widely available at the DU campus. Lots 317 and 321 are closest to Sturm Hall; please see the campus parking map for more information. Guests can pay for parking in the visitor lots from their smart phones with the Park Mobile App. DU also has its own Light Rail stop located on the E-F-H lines.

Colorado 50-50 is grateful to the sponsors who are helping make this event possible: University of Denver, Electing Women PAC, League of Women Voters of Colorado, VoteRunLead, DU’s Dept. of Economics, DU’s Gender and Women’s Studies Dept., DU’s Dept. of Political Science, DU’s Center on American Politics, DU’s Media, Film, and Journalism Studies, DU’s College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, and InvestHER.

Councilwoman Coming To Longmont on Sept. 22

Film poster for Councilwoman with photos of Carmen Castillo

We are showing Councilwoman at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center! It is an inspiring new documentary about a Dominican-American hotel housekeeper who runs for city council in Providence, Rhode Island. The film will be followed with a panel and audience discussion about civic engagement and getting more women in leadership.

Do you know a woman who should take her next steps in leadership? Bring her with you!

Co-presented with the League of Women Voters of Boulder County and the Longmont Museum.

Sunday, September 22, 3 pm
$5 general admission, $3 students/seniors, free for museum members. Tickets here.

(Seguido en Español – Sinopsis de la película)

Film synopsis: Politicians aren’t often full-time hotel housekeepers, grandmothers, union members and immigrants working service jobs. But Carmen Castillo changes that when she wins a seat on the City Council in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen Castillo is a Dominican City Councilwoman who maintains her job cleaning hotel rooms, as she takes on her new role in politics. She faces skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern, the power of corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a $15/hourly wage in the City, and a tough re-election against two contenders—all of this while balancing the challenges of managing a full-time job cleaning hotel rooms, and a personal relationship. It’s a journey behind the scenes of politics after the victory.

Total Running Time: 56:53 – Spanish/English with English subtitles

Sinopsis de la película: los políticos no suelen ser camareras de hotel, abuelas, miembros del sindicato e inmigrantes que trabajan a tiempo completo en el sector del trabajo. Pero Carmen Castillo cambia eso cuando gana un asiento en el Concejo Municipal en Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen Castillo es una concejala Dominicana que mantiene su trabajo de limpieza de habitaciones de hotel, mientras asume su nuevo papel en la política. Se enfrenta a escépticos que dicen que no tiene la educación para gobernar, el poder de los intereses corporativos que se oponen a su lucha por un salario de $15 por hora en la ciudad y una reelección difícil contra dos contendientes: todo esto a la vez que se equilibran los desafíos de administrar un trabajo a tiempo completo limpiando habitaciones de hotel y una relación personal. Es un viaje tras bambalinas de la política después de la victoria.

Tiempo total del documental: 56:53 – en español / inglés con subtítulos en inglés

Fun in Dillon!

Photos of attendees of summer social

Thanks to everyone who attended our Summer Social in Dillon on August 15! It was a great turnout for our first event in the mountains and we were happy to meet so many people.

Our special thanks go out the elected women officials who helped make the social a success by encouraging the next wave of women leaders. Thank you State Senator Kerry Donovan, State Representative Julie McCluskie, State Senator and U.S. Senate Candidate Angela Williams, former State House Majority Leader and U.S. Senate Candidate Alice Madden, Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence, Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier, Dillon Mayor Carolyn Skowyra, Breckenridge Town Councilwoman Erin Gigliello, and former Dillon Town Councilwoman Lucinda Burns!

Good luck to attendees Amy Padden and Heidi McCollum, who are running for District Attorney in different districts!

Join us on Aug. 15 for our Summer Social in Dillon

event details and photos of three elected women officials

Join us for our summer social in Dillon! Meet women candidates & elected officials, like State Senator Kerry Donovan, State Representative Julie McCluskie & Elisabeth Lawrence, Summit County Commissioner. Learn what it’s like to run & hold office.

All are welcome! Thursday, August 15, 5-6:30 PM, at Pug Ryan’s Brewery, 104 Village Pl., Dillon. (Note: we will be at the brewery, not the tiki bar.)

Suggested $5 donation to Colorado 50-50. No admission fee. Cash bar at Pug Ryan’s Brewing Company. More info and RSVP here.

50 Phenomenal Women Coming To A Ballot Near You

Group photo at #RunAsYouAre Denver training
Photo credit: Alisa May Geiser

Colorado 50-50 was thrilled that 50 women attended the #RunAsYouAre2019 training in Denver on May 18, 2019. We partnered again with Vote Run Lead – and this year we were one of 20 locations offering the training on the same day.

It was a powerful full-day campaign training. The women learned that they are qualified to run for office and explored how their life experiences will make them effective elected officials. They learned how to kickstart their campaigns with concrete actions that will make them successful on the campaign trail. They also had time to connect and network with other Colorado women who were on the same path.

“I appreciated that the event brought together women from both sides of the political world with a common goal to inspire and empower more women to run,” said participant Tara Eveland. “It isn’t often in today’s political climate that we come together to support and uplift one another.” 

Another participant, Princess Mack, said she welcomed “the space to run for a political position being authentically yourself.”

You can see more wonderful photos taken at the event by Alisa May Geiser in this online gallery.

Also, we were happy that MSNBC did a broader feature story, “Black Women Candidates Could Shake Up The 2020 Election,” and interviewed some of our participants.

We want to express our appreciation to those who generously donated to make #RunAsYouAre2019 possible. The donors who supported the training, including scholarships and stipends, are the Soeurs de Coeur Fund and the Geri Brown Memorial Fund, both of which are donor-advised funds held at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado

Run As You Are – Denver campaign training on May 18

Colorado 50-50 is partnering again with Vote Run Lead to bring the Run As You Are training to Colorado. The full-day campaign training for women will be held on Saturday, May 18, at the WeWork location in downtown Denver.

This year’s training is especially exciting because it is part of Vote Run Lead’s National Day of Training being held in 18 cities around the country. As the United States’s largest and most diverse national women’s training organization, Vote Run Lead is uniquely positioned to train women to run as they are.

Joining the Denver team are State Senator Faith Winter, State Representative Dominique Jackson and Community Organizer Erin Hottenstein.

Are you wondering if you should attend? Yes – if you have ever been curious about running for office. Yes – if you know you are going to run in 2019, 2020, or the next five years. Yes – if you are volunteering for a woman candidate and you want to know more about campaigns. Yes – if you would like to learn campaign nuts and bolts and then find a woman candidate to help.

#RunAsYouAre2019 will not only be inspiring and uplifting, but chock-full of practical information and steps you can take to run a successful campaign. You will also spend the day with a room full of incredible and dynamic women.

The cost to enroll is only $25 and can be done online here: http://bit.ly/VRLRAYA2019

Scholarships, along with travel and childcare stipends are available. We want you to attend! Just email info@colorado5050.org.

Lastly, don’t forget to bring a friend! Sign up now – we’re going to have a blast!

75 People Attended the Colorado Premiere of Councilwoman

Group photo at event

About 75 people attended the April 30 Colorado premiere of Councilwoman, a new documentary about a Dominican-American hotel housekeeper who runs for office in Providence, Rhode Island. After watching the film, the audience participated in both small- and large-group discussions.

Please join Colorado 50-50 in thanking our co-sponsors: the League of Women Voters of Larimer County, Fuerza Latina, Alianza NORCO, CSU Women and Gender Collaborative, CSU Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership, and Foothills Unitarian Church. Also, many thanks to our volunteers who made the event possible.

Did you miss it? Colorado 50-50 hopes to show the documentary again later. Until then, you can see the trailer here: https://www.councilwomanfilm.com/