On Thursday, I attended two fabulous discussions given by female political powerhouses. First, I attended an informal luncheon with Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl. Sheila was the first woman in California history to hold the position of Speaker pro tempore of the California State Assembly. In her fourteen years in the State Legislature, Senator Kuehl authored 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave; overhaul California’s child support services system; further protect domestic violence victims and their children; prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and increase the rights of crime victims.
In her talk, Sheila spoke about the rewarding experience of running for office and empowered students to seek careers in public service. She also addressed the toxic subject of the budget crisis in California and what is needed to put California on the road to economic recovery. She spoke candidly about the challenges and joys of running for office and what it takes to get elected. Really inspiring stuff.
In the evening, I attended a discussion and reception with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi sponsored by the UCLA Law School Williams Institute. Nancy came to promote her book, “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters,” speak about being a woman in congress and answer questions about contemporary political issues and events. Another female first, Pelosi spoke about her transition from “housewife to the House speaker” and shared stories about being a mother of five and the highest-ranking woman in congress.
Speaker Pelosi encouraged young women to pursue political office and make their voices heard. She told a story from her book about how she once held three important party leadership positions at the same time and mentioned to a female mentor that she should give up one of her positions so that someone else could serve. Her mentor replied saying, "A man would never say that." The point of the story was that it is absolutely critical for women to embrace and know the power they hold. Both women were charismatic, down-to-earth and committed to helping the next generation of women leaders enter the field of politics and public policy.
The above picture is a photo of us policy chicks with our signed books by Nancy Pelosi. Woot!