By Aryanna Berringer
Pittsburgh Current Political Columnist
Year after year, Pennsylvania ranks toward the very bottom of the list for electing women to office — at all levels. We’ve never elected a woman to the United States Senate or the Governor’s Office and when you narrow your focus to the Western side of the State, the numbers get even worse with representation locally.
However, I’d venture to say that Western Pennsylvania is electing women at a higher rate than the rest of the State (maybe even the country) and it could be because organizations like Women for the Future of Pittsburgh exist.
Now, full disclosure, I serve on their Board, but what the organization as a whole is accomplishing when it comes to local elections can’t be ignored.
They endorsed 14 candidates in the Pennsylvania Primary. Guess how many won?
Every single one of them.
14 for 14!
A complete sweep.
Here’s the rundown:
Bethany Hallam (Allegheny County Council-At-Large)
Liv Bennett (Allegheny County Council District 13)
Christine Allen (Allegheny County Council District 2)
Deb Gross (Pittsburgh City Council District 7)
Kate Abel (Dormont Council)
Jen Partica (Moon Area School Board)
Valerie Fleisher (Mt. Lebanon School Board)
Deanna Philpott (North Hills School Board)
Pam Harbin (Pittsburgh Public School Board District 4)
Weldianne Scales (Swissvale Borough Council)
Gina Englert (West Mifflin School Board)
Marilyn Scott (Woodland Hills School Board)
Amy Fazio (New Brighton School Board)
Lisa Carpenter (Washington County Treasurer)
Look closely at these names and the offices they’re running for. These aren’t just women in the City of Pittsburgh or even Allegheny County or seats sitting at the top of the ticket. These wins cover everything from county council to school board, and cover communities throughout Western Pennsylvania.
Women for the Future of Pittsburgh is making an impact up and down the ballot and across Western Pennsylvania by contributing money in those races where $500 can mean the difference between a win and a loss. WTF donated $7,250 dollars to these candidates in the Primary and it was enough to make a significant impact on each of the races.
Nearly 90% of WTF donors are women. That means women are supporting and empowering other women in Western Pennsylvania and those gains are starting to show.
I don’t see organizations like Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, or even unions contributing or endorsing at similar rates. Women for the Future of Pittsburgh is standing alone in the depth and investment of women in Western Pennsylvania and if you ask me, that’s pretty badass.
I joined WTF because I saw them engaging a new universe when it comes to political donors and making investments where traditional political action committees wouldn’t. WTF raises money in a pretty unconventional too, they hosted a Drag Brunch at the Le Mont this spring for instance (you won’t want to miss the next event). And they give money early, often, and to races where smaller dollar donations can make a big impact.
Women for the Future of Pittsburgh hasn’t even been around for two years and has contributed almost $48,000 to progressive women in our region — just imagine what will be done in five years.