Ready to Run Conference Prepares Women to Enter Politics

Dec 19, 2011

          Women in northeastern and central Pennsylvania who want to run for office or get involved with public service now have a place to turn for valuable training. On Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, The University of Scranton will host its inaugural Ready to Run™ conference in Brennan Hall on campus.
          A nonpartisan program of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University, Ready to Run trains women to run for office, seek higher office, work on a campaign, get appointed to office, or learn more about the political system. Participants in the conference will learn from prominent elected and appointed leaders, campaign consultants, party officials and policy experts. Because the first day to begin collecting petitions for candidacy is Wednesday, Feb. 15, and the last day to file for candidacy before primaries is Wednesday, April 18, the conference is timely.

          According to Jean Wahl Harris, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Political Science Department at The University of Scranton, research shows that political women change the public policy agenda and the way government works. Women make our democracy more inclusive and more responsive to the concerns of all citizens. Yet, Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s lowest proportions of women in the state legislature – ranking 41st out of 50 states.

          Keynote speaker Marjorie Margolies, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania from 1993 to 1995 and founder and president of Women’s Campaign International (WCI), will present “Making a Difference: What Women Need to Know.” WCI works with political leaders, activists, advocacy groups and nonprofit partner organizations to ensure that women have a legitimate opportunity to participate in the development of public policy, and that women’s issues are placed on local, national and regional agendas.

          Other presentations during the conference – which offers breakfast, lunch and networking opportunities – include “Launching Your Campaign,” “An Election Primer: The Nuts and Bolts,” “Navigating Political Parties,” “Fundraising for Success,” “Using the Media Wisely,” “Message Training,” and “Personal Perspectives on Running for Office.”

          Participants will leave with “how-to” instructions on running for office including sample filing documents and a calendar of filing deadlines; real-world advice and best practices from experts; strategies for positioning themselves for public leadership; a better understanding of Pennsylvania politics; and internet strategies for campaigns.

           A magnet for women of all political affiliations throughout our region and beyond, Ready to Run invites participants from Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

           Additional Ready to Run programs are scheduled across Pennsylvania and in other states during the winter and spring. Jean Sinzdak ’96, who oversees CAWP’s Ready to Run program, is an alumna of The University of Scranton.

          Visit for more information about the Ready to Run event at The University of Scranton. The snow date is set for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.

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