Washington, D.C.—Today, People For the American Way’s Next Up Victory Fund released its slate of progressive women candidates running for state or local office whose experiences with sexual assault or harassment influenced their candidacy. Over the past two years, the #MeToo movement has profoundly affected the current election cycle at the national and local level. Today is the one-year anniversary of Alyssa Milano’s tweet that helped catapult the #MeToo movement started by Tarana Burke into national notoriety.
“Every time they get in front of a camera, President Trump and the GOP show why it’s time for survivors of sexual assault or harassment to start making policy in this country,” PFAW Political Director Lizet Ocampo said. “The women of our #MeToo slate are incredible examples of young, progressive candidates who will not be silenced or told to wait their turn.”
The slate includes candidates from battleground states across the country who participated in a recent PFAW panel discussion about the impact of the #MeToo movement on the 2018 midterms, as well as the future of politics under a president with a record of harming women. Among them is Rachel Crooks, one of the first of at least nineteen women who have accused President Trump of sexual assault.
Next Up Victory Fund #MeToo Slate:
- Julie Gonzales, candidate for State Senate, District 34, Colo.
- Caitlin Clarkson Pereira, candidate for State House, District 132, Conn.
- Anna Eskamani, candidate for State House, District 47, Fla.
- Natalie Higgins, candidate for Worcester State House, District 4, Mass.
- Jennifer Hernandez, candidate for Douglas County Clerk of District Court, Neb.
- Kristee Watson, candidate for State Assembly, District 22, Nev.
- Caroline Walker, candidate for State Senate, District 35, N.C.
- Andrea Romero, candidate for State House, District 4, N.M.
- Rachel Crooks, candidate for State House, District 8, Ohio.
- Shanna Danielson, candidate for State House, District 92, Pa.
- Katie Muth, candidate for State Senate, District 44, Pa.
- Jennifer O’Mara, candidate for State House, District 165, Pa.
- Brandy Jones, candidate for Denton County Commission, District 2, Texas.
“Calladita no más. Silent no longer. That’s the first step to seeking justice and most often the hardest. We must protect the safety and future of our community, and we can start by believing women when they share experiences of sexual harassment and assault,” Julie Gonzales, candidate for State Senate, District 34, Colo., said. “Belonging to such an incredible group of candidates inspires me to be even more committed to ensuring all survivors can access justice, to increasing funding for culturally-competent sexual assault service providers who will support survivors, and to increasing education and intervention programs that prevent future assaults.”
“As a former rape crisis counselor and a sexual assault survivor, I am humbled to be a part of a group that will push our nation forward at a time when Trump makes light ofthe #MeToo movement,” stated Natalie Higgins, candidate for Mass. State House, District 4. “My first speech on the floor of the Massachusetts House of Representatives about legislation focused on ensuring survivors had access to their evidence kits, and I will continue championing women’s rights. This country needs change, and I will push for it the state house.”
“As a single mother and a survivor of abuse and homelessness, I understand the strength it takes to stand up and make things happen. It’s why I’m so honored to be among other women who work just as hard to build strong communities,” said Brandy Jones, candidate for Denton County Commission, District 2, Texas. “We must stand up, strengthened by our values, to make sure every woman knows we have their back.”
PFAW’s Next Up Victory Fund helps young progressive candidates age 40 and under win races for state and local offices across the country. The goal of Next Up is to build a deep bench of progressive candidates well positioned to control state legislatures, win statewide, and run for federal offices in the years and decades to come. They are committed to winning the elections that will lead to progressive outcomes that reflect our true American values and the American Way.
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.