Brette McSweeney is the President of Eleanor’s Legacy, a group dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office in New York State. We discuss the critical impact of local and state elections on our daily lives, and the value of electing more women to represent us.
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Pro-Choice Democratic Women
Eleanor’s Legacy specifically helps pro-choice Democratic candidates for several reasons. First, due to a long-standing Republican majority in the state legislature, New York State had not codified Roe v. Wade protections until 2019. Second, not all Democrats are pro-choice, and Eleanor’s Legacy only supports candidates who are pro-choice. Lastly, clearly stating your values and building your brand always helps in politics.
Importance of State and Local Office
Controlling state and local office can mean huge differences for everyday voters. When Democrats took control of the New York State legislature in 2019, they significantly expanded access to voting, immediately protected abortion rights, began to address climate change, and protected survivors of childhood sexual abuse. None of these laws would have been passed if Democrats hadn’t won in local elections.
Healthy Political Landscape
Although things are improving politically in New York, there is still work to be done to create a truly healthy political landscape. For instance, voter turnout needs to climb beyond the usual 20%. Just as important, more women need to be elected to executive roles. The gains made by women in local and state offices are promising. However, electing a woman mayor of NYC would go a long way in creating a healthier political landscape.
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Brette McSweeney is the president of Eleanor’s Legacy, the only statewide organization in New York focused on recruiting, training, and funding pro-choice Democratic women candidates at the state and local level. She was a member of the New York Leadership Council for Hillary for America in 2016 and the deputy New York State director for women’s outreach in 2008. Brette is a graduate of Georgetown and Columbia.
You can follow her on Twitter @blmcsweeney.