Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ten Tips for Becoming an Effective Advocate

#1 Google rated blogger for women entrepreneurs,Kirsten Osolind, has a great feature on her re:invention blog. Every Saturday she posts 10 Tips for 10 Million Women -- featuring advice for women entrepreneurs by women entrepreneurs.

Last Saturday, she featured my Ten Tips for Becoming a Grass Roots Advocate (a revised and updated version of an article that I wrote for NAWBOTime). It's a handy reference for women business owners who want to succeed in the "business" of advocacy at the local, state or federal level.

Let Kirsten know if you've got 10 Tips that you'd like her to feature. You'll find the link to submit your wisdom on the blog.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Path To Electing More Women May Lead Through Redistricting

GOP Hokie has been writing about the redistricting. Here's one thing he probably hasn't thought about:

American University Professor Barbara Palmer is the co-author of an interesting new book about women candidates for political office that got great coverage in David Broder's column in the Washington Post this week.

Among the most interesting of Palmer's findings reported by Broder is this:

Demographic changes now underway will increase the number of districts where women can compete. But the radical suggestion from Palmer and Simon is for states to use this knowledge of what makes a district "woman-friendly" in the next round of redistricting, after the 2010 Census, to increase substantially the number of women in Congress. As women in state legislatures position themselves for the coming redistricting battles, that's something they can keep in mind.

There's lots more of interest in the book, "Breaking the Political Glass Ceiling: Women and Congressional Elections," which looks at all of the women candidates who ran for Congress between 1956 and 2004 and identifies the characteristics of the districts in which they won and lost.

Sounds like a good read for anyone who wants to run for Congress or who would like to help identify women candidates for districts well-suited to electing them or who would like to know how to draw districts that would elect women!

Delegate Kilgore --- One Man --- Three Masters?

In a little noticed development upstate, Delegate Terry Kilgore has been named Dean of Institutional Advancement at the University of Appalachia, a new private university in Grundy. In the school's press release, Kilgore is quoted as saying he intends to continue representing clients in "serious injury" cases, and there's no indication that he intends to give up his seat in the legislature:

Delegate Kilgore noted that he is in the process of phasing out of his general practice of law and will maintain his legislative district office in Gate City where he and his wife, Debbie, also an educator, and their two children, Kayla and Kyle, continue to reside. “I will continue on a part time basis to represent a limited number of serious injury clients as part of my agreement with the University of Appalachia. It is important that I stay actively involved in the legal profession and it was not an easy decision to make this transition. But with all the expanding opportunities for further educating our high school graduates happening right here in Southwest Virginia I cannot resist doing what I can to make that happen on a larger and more aggressive scale.”

The head of the University said of Kilgore's selection:

"Terry will be instrumental in expanding program development, promoting scholarships and fundraising, and increasing the awareness of educational and health care needs of Southwest Virginia. He has shown great enthusiasm in taking this office and has begun making contacts and setting up site visits well before his start date. Terry strengthens our leadership team and will help make our mission become a reality.”

So, Terry will be an agressive advocate for the constituents who elected him, the University, and his continuing legal clients -- all at the same time. Wonder how we'll know when he's doing which job.

There is always the potential for conflict with a citizen legislature, but this may be a situation where it will be difficult to parse expected loyalties.

Can one man serve three demanding masters well and without conflict (especially when two of the jobs require significant fundraising)? Guess we'll find out.