EMILY Takes Victory Lap
By Lindsey Reese
BU News Service
WASHINGTON D.C. – With a record number of women elected to Congress and a president returning to office with major support from women, the PAC EMILY’s List, took a victory lap at a brunch on the eve of the Inauguration in Washington.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., were among the women there to thank the group for backing their successful campaigns.
“No one runs alone. Well, no one runs alone for Senate and wins,” said Baldwin, who was greeted with a standing ovation from the cheering crowd.
“I’m going to thank you the best way how as an elected official: I’m going to ask you to do more,” Baldwin said as the audience chuckled. “I didn’t run to make history, I ran to make a difference.”
EMILY’s List, one of the largest PACs in the country, works to elect Democratic women in every election. With more than two million supporters, the PAC was able to raise enough funds to help elect 18 female Democrats to the House and three new senators.
EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast.” Women and a small number of men who attended the event lent their support campaigns raising funds early to make the “dough” rise.
Sen. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., opened the brunch as two landmark victors in the Senate race. Gabbard is the first Hindu female to be elected, and Meng, the first female Asian American elected to Congress.
“We share a set of values, we share EMILY,” Meng said.
The organization was founded in 1985 and has since helped to elect 86 pro-choice Democratic women to Congress. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the many milestones that women have reached with the aid of EMILY’s List, including the approval of family and medical leave as well as the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Fair Act.
“If we hadn’t had so many women in the house, we wouldn’t have had the first female Speaker of the House,” Pelosi said, “Thank you EMILY’s List for that.”
The female to male ratio in the room greatly favored the ladies, however many men said that they too identified themselves as EMILY.
Chuck Wolfe, President of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, expressed his enthusiasm to be associated as an EMILY along with the first openly gay senator of Wisconsin, Baldwin.
“I am EMILY, because I know EMILY removes barriers for all of us,” Wolfe said.
EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, said that their work will not be done until female Democrats have taken a majority in Congress and the Executive office.
“We are ready to help Nancy Pelosi get her gavel back,” Schriock said, “And we are ready to get a Democratic woman in the Oval Office.”
Schriock also indicated that the overwhelming support that President Obama received from women voters is due to his dedication to women’s rights. “President Obama trusts women, and we trust President Obama,” Schriock said.
One of the few men in attendance, Mark Stephens of Burke, Va., said he came to support his wife but was also affected by the powerful speeches.
“What I liked is the commitment to a culture of winning,” Stephens said. “It gets the next group out there.”