For many women, WIN Leadership Academy is not just educational, it is transformational because the experience opens doors and creates opportunities for advancement.

For Brenda Lopez, WIN Leadership Academy was the first campaign training she received. The WLA classes interested her so much she sought out other training opportunities before deciding she would run for Gwinnett’s House District 99 when the long time male incumbent announced he would retire.

Brenda so impressed WIN List board members involved with WLA, she was named the first ever Georgia Rising Star as the group celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2015. Further, WIN List decided to award Brenda its first ever “pre-qualifying” endorsement because she was so uniquely suited to represent one of the state’s most demographically diverse districts. Her election made history when she became the first Latina to serve in the Georgia General Assembly. Brenda credits WLA training with helping her develop a strong WINning campaign plan.

Amanda Hollowell also graduated in the 2015 Class and was one of the few participants from outside Atlanta. “The experience was truly rewarding and helped direct my natural born activist instincts. The program helped me craft my skill set to engage politically in a smarter way,” she says.

Amanda applied for WLA with no intentions of running for office, rather hoping to gain knowledge of how to work on campaigns and to shape a candidate’s voice via social media. Following her WLA year, she worked as social media coordinator on the re-election campaign for Former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson, who now serves on the WIN board. Amanda also  managed Dionne Hoskins-Brown re- election bid for Savannah-Chatham County School Board seat  and Zena McClain’s write in campaign for Chatham County District Attorney.

“Each campaign was different. But, my experience with WLA helped me shape each  campaigns around the true voice and distinct style of the candidate,” Hollowell said. Now, she serves as Communications Director for Georgia’s WIN List, helping with newsletters, conference calls, social media, events, boot camps and outreach.

“I might be biased but WIN is truly the most supportive political action group for progressive Democratic women in Georgia. I am proud to be associated with such an amazing and dynamic group of women. We are creating a wonderful community for women in politics,” she said. “Who knows, with the knowledge and exposure gained from WLA and WIN, I could run for office in the near future.”

Amelia Weltner is alumnae of the 2016 WLA program, which helped her find her “voice” politically even though she hails from a family where the men have been deeply involved in Georgia politics for seven generations.

Weltner applied to WLA shortly after graduating with a masters degree in social work. An early WLA presenter was looking for a new hire at his fundraising firm and Amelia got the job. She  worked on several campaigns during the busy 2016 political season, catching the eye of Rep. Stacey Evans who needed to find a replacement for her chief of staff and quickly hired Amelia.

“Knowing that Amelia was trained by WIN List gives me the peace of mind that she is prepared and most importantly was taught to look at the big picture and the practical side of politics,” said Rep Evans, who is herself a former WIN List board chair.

“I am definitely inspired when I talk to campaign managers, elected women and my classmates,” Amelia said about the more confident political voice she has developed as a result of WIN List training. “Politics has long been a men’s club. WLA offers a great opportunity to get women together to learn, organize and support each other.”

In addition to her daily work at the Capitol during this her first legislative session as a staffer, Amelia also works with a group of refugees and is a founding leader for a new non-profit, Georgia Artists for Progress. The group hopes to bridge the gap between Georgia citizens and politics through a community of artists who are committed to advance progressive causes.

 

 

Show your resolve to keep the momentum of the Women’s March alive by becoming a part of the Georgia’s WIN List WINning team in any of the following ways:

AAttend our Legislative Breakfast Thursday January 26. Please reserve tickets by Tuesday because Chef Lo Clark at Central Presbyterian has planned a delicious breakfast menu – including his renowned brown sugar bacon!  You will not want to miss our endorsed “Winning Women Have Their Say” about key legislative issues of the day beginning at 7:45 am. Many of our endorsed women will attend and it is always a January highlight for Winning Women to attend.  Better yet, join our Host Committee and support for our efforts to change the face of power as we train and recruit women for the 2018 election cycle and beyond. Host committee or tickets purchase here: http://bit.ly/2017LegislativeBreakfast

B – Be a Leader or sharpen your leadership skills by applying to our signature year-long WIN Leadership Academy program or one of our three one-day “Boot Camp” training sessions April 3 in Savannah or April 5 and 6 in the Northern and Southern Atlanta suburbs. These sessions train our future candidates for campaigns at all levels. WLA applications are due February 3. If you don’t wish to train yourself, suggest the training to others who have great leadership potential and perhaps offer to write the recommendation letter required for WLA applicants. Read more about these programs and apply here: http://bit.ly/2017WLAFORM

C – Connect with our WIN List endorsed elected women during the three WINning Women Capitol Calls planned for February and March during selected lunch hours. These calls will feature legislative updates on specific issues and offer members of the WIN List community the opportunity to submit questions to women legislators on-line. These calls offer the chance to get first-hand information about subjects not covered in everyday headlines. More details will be announced soon. If you do not regularly receive our twice weekly e-blast updates, sign up here: http://bit.ly/GAWINLISTNEWS

D – Donate! You knew that was coming! Please consider helping us set our budget by making Georgia’s WIN List a recurring part of your monthly budget.  Set up a monthly donation  at the level of a nice dinner out or the price of a new white blouse you don’t really need! Monthly gifts set a firm foundation for our year round efforts to recruit candidates and keep members of the WIN List community better informed. Donate here: http://bit.ly/gawinlistdonate

E – Entertain the idea of hosting a WIN List house party for a group of your politically like minded friends. These house parties have become a key way we recruit donors and volunteers. Those attending house parties helped place more than 2,000 calls for a WIN endorsed candidate in a special election. WIN List Executive Director and Founding Chair Melita Easters or one of our board members will be happy to meet with your group to talk about what we do and our proven record of success. Email Melita at melitae@bellsouth.net for more information.

F – Find your voice and become an advocate who holds elected officials at the local, state and national level accountable for their actions. As you make your voice heard, you inform those officials who “represent” you where you stand. Sometimes elected officials need the “cover” of constituent contact if they wish to make a courageous stand against the principles of their party platform. In a purple turning blue state like Georgia, expressing your opinion may well give your representatives that “cover.” If you don’t know who represents you, check it out here and then put your representatives on speed dial: Link

Georgia’s WIN List has helped elect and re-elect more than 55 women to the Georgia General Assembly since we were founded in 2000. We have trained countless others for local offices. We have a strong bench of women leaders ready to run statewide in 2018. There is no better way to be a part of the “Resistance” than joining the efforts of a group with a proven record of success.

We welcome enthusiastic newcomers to our WINning Team! We can do even more to prepare for the 2018 election cycle with your help. Ours is a long term approach with a proven record of success.

 

 

 

March banners created by Savannah’s “Panhandle Slim”

Members of the Georgia’s WIN List community will participate in the Saturday January 21 Marches and Rallies in Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Savannah.

Each event also has a separate website or Facebook page with more specific information, but here are a few highlights to make your day more meaningful and suggestions for being better prepared.

ATLANTA: Friends of Georgia’s WIN List planning to participate in the 1 pm Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women will congregate beginning at 12:40 pm on the sidewalk of Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard across from the water feature at the Center for Civil and Human Rights beneath the large mural for the Atlanta Union Mission which is painted on a brick wall.

This location for gathering was chosen to highlight the proposed Trump Administration policy changes which would decimate the country’s human services safety net.

WHAT TO WEAR?

Blue and buttons from past political battles or winter white.

Blue: We wear all shades of Democratic blue to honor the more than 55 Democratic pro-choice women Georgia’s WIN List has helped elect since 2000 and the women we are recruiting and training for future runs. “Blue Collar” is a term for those who work in the kinds of jobs where women get paid in dimes when male counterparts earn dollars. In Georgia, the wage gap for women in general is 82 cents on the dollar, for African American women it is 63 cents on the dollar and for Latina women, it drops to 48 cents.

Winter White: Since it is after Labor Day and we are Southern, we wear “Winter White” to honor those generations ago in the Women’s Suffrage movement who wore white as they marched. Many recall Hillary Clinton’s white pantsuit the evening she accepted the Democratic nomination worn for the same reason.

Buttons: We proudly wear the buttons from the campaigns of women we have supported before. We know our efforts to change the face of power are an ongoing struggle and we at WIN List are proud to have 31 endorsed women who currently serve in the Georgia General Assembly.

LOGISTICS:

For transportation, MARTA is highly recommended. If you plan to use MARTA on the day of the march, consider re-loading or purchasing your card a day or so earlier because the machines can be crowded when large numbers decide to use public transit for occasions such as this. The station closest to the beginning point for the march is the Civic Center station. The station closest to the end point of the march is the Georgia State station, directly across from Liberty Plaza.

Parking near the museum can be crowded and expensive. If you plan to drive, one option is to park in the Underground or Freight Depot lots near the Capitol and then Uber to the start of the march.

Those who may not be physically able to march between the two locations may wish to participate in the WIN List VIP welcoming committee which will be stationed at Liberty Plaza beginning at 1 pm to welcome tired marchers and hand out water bottles. Please let us know if you wish to be part of this group.

SIGNS

The DC Women’s March has a very specific set of sign restrictions and prohibitions. Some  clever marchers plan to “wear” the signs they create by punching holes in the signs and using twine.

Some of those riding buses from Savannah to participate in the DC March may well have the most impressive signs and banners of the entire national event. Savannah folk artist Scott Stanton, better known as “Panhandle Slim,” has created a group of banners featuring quotable women and what they are remembered for saying about feminism and politics. These striking banners will turn heads for sure.

Those not lucky enough to have a Panhandle Slim sign are making their own – often at sign making parties throughout metro Atlanta and in Savannah. Here are some suggested slogans and ideas which you can use as inspiration for your own creative efforts. In general, remember simple, clear and colorful signs are best during the march and in photographs.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

When Women Vote, Women Win

Change the Face of Power

End Georgia’s Pale Male Patriarchy

Elect More Women!!!

Women in Numbers Elect Women in Numbers

Build Bridges not Walls

Make America THINK Again!

D.C. and SAVANNAH: Details for the Savannah event and how to connect with our board chair in Washington will be announced later in the week. In the meantime, Savannah participants may feel free to contact WIN List Communications Director Amanda Hollowell: Amanda.hollowell1@gmail.com   Those hoping to meet up and help Board Chair Anna Beck carry the banner in Washington may contact her: Annabec@gmail.com.

 

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The first calls about a potential Debby Peppers candidacy came to WIN List board member Wendy Davis, who serves on the Rome City Council and the Democratic National Committee, just days after the November election when nerves were still raw over the national results and politically active Democrats were despondently picking themselves up off the floor.

Just days after the election, Gov. Nathan Deal had appointed Senator Charlie Bethel to an appeals Court judgeship. GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp set a quick timetable for the special election cycle which included all the important end of year holidays and effectively limited campaign time.

Because both women had been involved in political circles for decades and knew each other, Wendy not only called Debby to encourage her to run, she offered to accompany her to Atlanta for qualifying and to make strategic introductions. WIN board members interviewed Debby immediately after she paid her qualifying fee and were energized by the idea of supporting a candidate of her qualifications –  a decades long record of child advocacy and service to her community. On very short notice, Campaign Consultant Liz Ernst signed on and the board voted in favor of our first ever “under the radar” endorsement. Ernst had earlier managed Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver’s race against a primary opponent and Senator Tonya Anderson’s defeat of a sitting Republican Senator in November.

From the beginning, WIN List knew the race was a long shot. But, given the opportunity to overturn the GOP Senate Supermajority with a candidate of such stellar quality, it was a race we felt well worth the effort. Special elections have been the start for many a woman’s political career and we had high hopes for the “Pick Peppers” effort.

The WIN List endorsement remained “under the radar” because Debby wisely chose to run with no party affiliation listed on the ballot. However, she made no secret of her Democratic loyalty, having served a term on the Whitfield County Commission as a Democrat. She also boldly spoke in favor of a woman’s right to reproductive freedom during the campaign and made no secret of her support for Bernie Saunders during presidential primaries.

Women who attended a series of December WIN List house parties liked what they heard about Debby Peppers and volunteered to work as “Pick Peppers” phone bankers. Social media groups were also heavily leveraged to recruit volunteers and spread the word about her campaign and WIN List donors were contacted. As Debby tirelessly campaigned door-to-door with local volunteers and union representatives, the “Pick Peppers Phone Bankers” placed more than 1200 calls in the period between Thanksgiving and the December 13 special election where Debby won her run-off spot.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, mailer paid for by a Republican independent expenditure surfaced in Democratic households which published a map of the district and the wrong date for the runoff. With that mailer circulating, the work of informing voters became more important and the phone bankers got back to work making even more calls than before, including election day reminder calls. ”The WIN List volunteers were essential to our runoff strategy,” Campaign Strategist Liz Ernst said.

In December, fewer than 5,000 votes were cast and only 400 votes separated Peppers and her opponent, Chuck Payne. The district trends 70 to 80 percent Republican in most election years and Republicans successfully targeted their base, with turnout for the runoff exceeding 6,700 votes – an increase of almost 30 percent. While we are disappointed Debby lost, her 35 percent showing far exceeded the typical Democratic performance in the district and the percentages voters awarded the national ticket in November 2016.

We at WIN List could not have dreamed of a more highly qualified candidate. Debby Peppers exemplifies the kind of woman in cities or small towns across Georgia who awaits your encouragement to run for office. A native of Dalton with a deep commitment to public service, she learned about politics by actively working on behalf of several women running for statewide office. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree from the University of Georgia, graduating in a law school class with only 10 women. She has been a clerk for local judges, practiced real estate and family law and worked in the family business. More importantly, she has been a highly successful advocate for children, most recently representing on a pro bono basis children from DFACS families in front of school disciplinary tribunals.

Debby has worked tirelessly in Dalton and statewide for decades, including service on numerous boards and many honors for her work. She was featured in People magazine and New York Times articles for her efforts to improve conditions in Georgia juvenile detention centers. See the articles here:  http://www.nytimes.com/1999/08/07/us/town-rides-to-the-rescue-of-its-young-inmates.html?mwrsm=Email and here: https://www.google.com/amp/people.com/archive/cleaning-up-vol-52-no-15/amp/?client=sa

Special elections are a constant in Georgia Politics, with 29 legislative contests ending up with runoffs since 2010. Two of those 29 contests involved WIN List Winners: Miriam Paris for SD 26 in 2011 and Park Cannon in HD 58 last year. The board of Georgia’s WIN List prefers to keep a strong campaign fund which allows us to move quickly when special elections occur – providing the strategic and tactical expertise women candidates need as they mobilize the support necessary to put them in the WINners Circle.

Because 2016 was a busy election year, we need to replenish our campaign account to remain ready for races like these. Your contribution today will insure we are able to quickly respond with support for strong women candidates like Debby Peppers in the future.

Click Link to Donate: http://bit.ly/gawinlistdonate