According to CAWP, women represent 30.5% of municipal elected officials and 31.1% of all state legislatures. On Women’s Equality Day, we are asking you to ramp up your support of our strong, progressive, kickass women candidates running for office this November!
We know that when progressive women win, we all win: statistics show that women electeds are more likely to introduce and support legislation that benefits of underrepresented and underserved communities. And with the recent attacks on reproductive care and sexual education, their voices are needed more than ever in elected office.
Take a look at 20 state and local women on the ballot this November and learn how you can support them.
1. Dr. Megan Srinivas — Iowa House, District 30, IA
Focus: accessible healthcare; COVID recovery; economic stability; education access and affordability
Infectious disease physician and public health researcher Dr. Megan Srinivas is the person we need in office right now. During the fall of 2020, Dr. Srinivas chaired President Biden’s Iowa COVID Response Council. She has been an advocate for science-based COVID policies since the start of the pandemic and is leading a NIH-funded study analyzing legislative defunding of family planning health centers in Iowa.
2. María Isa Pérez-Hedges — Minnesota House, District 65B, MN
Focus: healthcare accessibility; funding for Multilingual Learners and Early-Childhood education; increased development of affordable and public housing; investments in community solar energy
María Isa Pérez-Hedges is a cultural community organizer, international recording artist, and youth worker who currently directs the mentorship program for the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project. A Type 1 diabetic who fights for lower d insulin costs, María Isa has been a prominent leader in the fight for affordable health care in Minnesota. In April 2020, she played an integral role in advocating for the passage of the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act; she continues her leadership within the Minnesota #Insulin4all Chapter.
3. Janelle Perez — Florida Senate, District 37, FL
Focus: high-quality healthcare; economic opportunities for micro businesses and small businesses; LGBTQIA+ rights; reproductive justice; gun reform
Janelle Perez is the daughter of Cuban exiles, who has used her experiences and the experiences of her loved ones, to build stronger communities within Florida. At the age of 28, Janelle was diagnosed with Stage IV Follicular Lymphoma, an aggressive cancer. Her personal experience battling illness and her professional experience as an advocate deepened her commitment to ensuring every Floridian has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.
4. Nabeela Syed — Illinois House, District 51, IL
Focus: inclusive curriculum; mental health support; tax relief for small businesses; workers’ rights; LGBTQIA+ protections; increased healthcare access; Clean Energy Jobs Act; TRUST Act
Nabeela Syed is an organizer and educator with experience fighting for educational equity, reproductive justice, and worker’s rights. From knocking on doors to help elect Democrats to organizing Asian American voters in Georgia, Nabeela works to advance progressive causes on both a local and national scale.
5. Zaynab Mohamed — Minnesota Senate, MN
Focus: eliminating the educational achievement gap; expanding health care, combatting climate change; workers’ rights; racial justice reform
Zaynab Mohamed is a working class immigrant and policy advocate, running to represent South Minneapolis in the Minnesota Senate. Through her experiences supporting her family and navigating government services, Zaynab is acutely aware of the government’s ability to impact lives. She has served as the Community Advocacy Director at the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), where she pushed for better public safety and police accountability.
6. Darya Farivar — Washington House, District 46, WA
Focus: mental and behavioral health services; disability access; civil rights; combatting homelessness; police reform
Darya Farivar is a lifelong resident of the 46th Legislative District, a first-generation Iranian-American woman, a 27 year old millennial, and a proud Democrat. Darya believes we need legislators who understand disability justice, reflect the experiences of members of our communities, and bring those most impacted to the decision making table.
7. Linh Nguyen — Dekalb County Clerk, IL
Focus: record indexing; transparency in election results; modernized voting process; voter education
Computational scientist, chemistry instructor, and voting rights activist Linh Nguyen is committed to bringing transparency and accessibility to the polls in her community. When elected, Linh plans to update and modernize record-keeping, create more voter education resources for voters, and build trust within elections across Dekalb County.
8. Ruwa Romman — Georgia House, District 97
Focus: voter education and voter rights; immigration reform and equity; funding for public education; affordable health care; ending the economic opportunity gap
Ruwa Romman is running to become the first Muslim woman in Georgia’s State House! For more than a decade, she worked to empower her communities to turn out and make their voices heard at every level of government. Ruwa helped establish the only Muslim civil rights organization in Georgia and directly worked against the Muslim Ban eventually helping draft and pass the No Ban Act.
9. Carrie A. Rheingans — Michigan House, District 47
Focus: accessible healthcare; opioid and mental health services; abortion rights; LGBTQIA+ rights; working family policies
Carrie is a health policy expert, educator, and community organizer with decades of experience bringing people and organizations together to tackle complex systems issues that improve health and reduce disparities. In the past, she worked as a health policy advocate and organizer working to ensure access for low-income community members. Carrie seeks the voices and experiences of those affected by policy to guide her when she makes policy decisions.
10. Tamillia Valenzuela — Washington Elementary School Board, AZ
Focus: teacher retention; community engagement; leadership training for students
Tamillia is a fierce poderosa holding space for our community to come together and utilize our power by creating inspirational educational spaces where youth thrive and develop leadership skills. Tamillia believes that good school leaders demonstrate empathy, create and nurture inclusive environments, and demonstrate a belief that all students can and will succeed.
11. Sarah Henry — Florida State House, District 38
Focus: reproductive rights, affordable housing, women’s equity, funding for public schools; environmental proteictions
As a young woman and former abortion clinic escort, Sarah understands how crucial protecting a persons’ right to choose truly is. Sarah has worked in nonprofits throughout her career and is currently fighting to ensure drinking water is kept clean and safe. When elected, Sarah will be an ardent defender of abortion access, equal pay for equal work, and appropriate parental leave policies.
12. Virginia Leigh, LICSW — Essex County Sheriff, MA
Focus: mental health and addiction support; anti-bias in law enforcement; immigration support; domestic violence protections
Virginia is a bilingual clinical social worker with over 12 years of experience working in community health centers, detention centers, and schools. Her expertise comes her work with families, at-risk youth, victims of crime and formerly incarcerated individuals. In 2008, Virginia founded, funded, and directed an educational initiative inside Mexican juvenile detention centers called The Albergue Bolivia Project and established herself as a champion and voice for unaccompanied children along the US Mexican Border. After completing her work in Mexico, she provided translation support and legal information at the Texas Civil Rights Project aiding undocumented victims of domestic violence.
13. Dr. Michele Grim — Ohio House, District 43
Focus: public health; affordable medication and health care; gun violence prevention; sexual violence prevention; metal health support; reproductive rights
Dr. Michele Grim is a public health advocate, aiming to strengthen effective responses to public health emergencies and access to medical care. Michele has led preventive healthcare initiatives as an epidemiologist and health educator, by increasing funding for community clinics and developing healthcare programs. Michele supports funding for healthcare and essential services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and she promotes trauma-informed crisis intervention training and effective laws that stop domestic gun violence.
14. Sheryl Guarniero — Greenville County Council, District 17, SC
Focus: sustainability and environmental protections; reproductive justice, support for small businesses
Sheryl is an active climate and social justice advocate. She walks her talk and has dedicated the last 20 years of her professional career working as an environmental scientist. The small business owner fights for environmental protection, while working together with community members in efforts to improve responsible development and ensure equal access to green spaces for underserved communities.
15. Danielle Helzer — Nebraska State Board of Education, District 6
Focus: comprehensive education; sex education; teacher retention; mental health resources for school students and staff
Danielle is a former public school teacher who has taught high school English in rural, urban, and suburban Nebraska. Danielle is passionate about protecting public education in Nebraska and using it as a vehicle to support ALL students, staff, and communities. Danielle decided to run to build on her work around inclusive sexual education in her local school district. She is currently fighting against extremist groups who have persistently harassed students and parents testifying on behalf of comprehensive sex education.
16. Ashley Esposito — Baltimore City Board of Education, At Large, MD
Focus: wrap-around services for students and families; free school-based wellness centers and nurses; parent and community engagement; teacher retention; multilingual support; equitable resource distribution
Ashley is a mom of a toddler, a full-time technology analyst, and a local artist. Ashley believes that she brings a different perspective to the current board as an individual with learning disabilities, which include Dyslexia and ADHD. She plans to use her lived experiences to create an environment that supports the needs of Baltimore’s students inside and outside of the classroom.
17. Maria Salamanca — Orange County School Board, District 2, FL
Focus: family and community involvement; teacher recruitment and retention; school safety; college and career readiness
Maria is running to represent one of Orlando’s most diverse school districts. With Maria’s unique experience at the intersection of political activism and innovation, she will advocate and bring new perspectives to the school board and make decisions that put students and teachers first. Maria started her career at FWD.us and Education Pioneers before joining Unshackled Ventures, a venture capital early stage fund that invests in immigrant entrepreneurs.
18. Helen Tran — Mayor of San Bernardino, CA
Focus: parks and open spaces; city economic revitalization; workforce development; emergency housing; mental health services; investing in libraries, STEM programs, and youth mentorship
Helen Tran is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants and a community organizer who got her start working on local and state campaigns. As the Director of Human Resources for the city of San Bernardino, she is committed to local revitalization after the economic fallout of the pandemic and she is set to become the first Asian American woman to represent the City of San Bernardino at any level.
19. Selena La Rue Hatch — Nevada Assembly, District 25
Focus: reproductive access; environmental protections; affordable housing, racial equity; LGBTIQIA+ rights; livable wage; funding for public education
Selena is a parent, teacher, union leader, and fierce advocate for students and families. Selena wants to ensure that the voices of everyone in her community, especially our BIPOC and LBGTQ+ communities, are heard and honored in the halls of power. Selena is dedicated to addressing climate change, diversifying our economy, creating good paying union jobs, and ensuring everyone has access to quality affordable healthcare.
20. La’Tasha D. Mayes — Pennsylvania House, District 24
Focus: affordable healthcare; reproductive justice; gun violence; over-policing; reduction of carbon emissions, and the elimination of “food deserts”; funding for public education; voter accessibility
La’Tasha is a nationally recognized leader in the field of reproductive justice, human rights, and leadership development for Black women and girls. La’Tasha recently served as Commissioner on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs and she completed the Higher Heights Senior Leadership Fellowship in 2021. She is a passionate leader with over 22 years of experience who is running to disrupt politics as usual and unapologetically advocate for racial, gender and economic justice.