From Blogger to Committee Woman in 3,000 Easy Steps
One week ago, I was elected as a committee woman for Division 10, Ward 57 in Philadelphia. The most remarkable story of this primary season in Pennsylvania, outside of PA-12, is the story of everyday Americans stepping up and becoming involved in local politics. To give you an idea of the distribution of committee people throughout the city -Philadelphia is divided into 66 wards, each ward is broken further down into divisions, with no fewer than 10 and no greater than 50. Within my ward and division, I am the only female committee member among my Republican and Democrat peers. In my small way, I shattered another glass ceiling for women in politics.
What are the duties of a committee person in Philadelphia? The Committee of Seventy, an organization of community leaders promoting political integrity, provides a detailed description of my responsibilities as a committee woman:
Members of a political party’s Ward Executive Committee, better known as committee people, are their party’s representatives in each voting division. Committee people serve as a point of contact between the voters in a division and elected officials and their political party. Committee people are considered party officers – not public officials or government employees. There can be two Democratic committee people and two Republican committee people elected in each voting division.
WHAT DOES A COMMITTEE PERSON DO?:
If you are a committee person, your responsibilities could include, but are not limited to:
- Attend your Ward Executive Committee meetings and elect your ward leader.
- Head a voter registration drive in your neighborhood.
- Circulate nomination petitions for your party’s candidates.
- Give voters information about an upcoming election so that they know where to vote and who is on the ballot.
- Work with block captains and other neighbors to help solve problems in your division.
- Get out the vote on Election Day.
- Hand out campaign literature at your polling place.
- Arrange rides to the polls for voters who are unable to walk or drive themselves.
The process was simple and a great way to meet my neighbors. On a snowy day in February, I collected the needed petition signatures to put my name on the ballot. Philadelphia requires 10 signatures, I made sure I had 15 to buffer any challenge to my candidacy. Once the petitions were notarized, I was on the ballot for the primary election. On election day, I spent most of the day handing out literature, thanking people for voting and hugging neighbors who were delighted to discover that I was running for an elected position. The highlight, besides winning, happened as I thanked a voter as he was leaving, he turned back and informed me that he just voted for me. What a powerful moment of clarity as I realized the trust this person placed in my role as a committee woman. I’ll hold that moment close as I go forward in this new role.
In the week since the election, I’ve taken time to reflect on this endeavor and my commitment to this position. In this role, I would rather be known as an advocate working for the benefit my constituents and my community than a politician.
The process of becoming a committee person was quite easy and a great way to connect in a meaningful way with your community. If I can do this, so can you!
I was not alone in winning a committee seat last week. Congratulations to the following conservative committee people:
PACC MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS:
COALITION FOR ADVANCING FREEDOM:
Jamie C. Cox
Gwen F. Galligan
David T. Galligan
Harry L. Cochran III
Jane G. Ladley
D. William Hovis
Pennsylvania State Committee People:
Joe De Felice