State Treasurer Lynn Fitch has launched a new program through the Mississippi GOP called Women’s Initiative Network. The goal to educate and encourage Republican women to get involved in politics and potentially run for office.
“We want to get more women involved as GOP candidates so we started thinking about how we realistically do that. We believe equality and opportunity, so we feel this is the perfect time for women to get into politics,” said Fitch.
In Mississippi 51% of eligible voters are women. However only 14.9% of state legislators are female and only 4 woman have ever been elected to a statewide position.
Because Mississippi tends to still be slower in bringing women into politics in comparison to the rest of the U.S., Fitch and others crafted an idea to promote involvement.
In August of 2017 Fitch said she spoke at ‘Ready to Run,’ a nonpartisan organization whose goal is to get women involved in politics. She has also spoken on incubator calls for ‘She Should Run’ a nonpartisan organization that also encourages this platform. The Treasurer then began doing research on programs that encourage Republican women to get involved and found there just weren’t many options out there.
After quite a bit of searching, she was able to find one that was not limited to a one day even. It is a program in Virginia called the RPV Ambassador Program. This program provides the opportunity for a select group of applicants to receive education on what it takes to run for office. Fitch decided to move forward with a plan to create a program like this in Mississippi
After meeting with GOP heads in April, she got the go ahead and thus Women’s Initiative Network was formed.
The program will serve women who have a desire to become involved in Mississippi politics. It is Chaired by RNC Committeewoman Jeanne Luckey and Treasurer Fitch serves as the Vice Chair and 12 women serve on the program committee.
They are currently accepting applications and Fitch has offered to pay the $40 application fee for any woman who is seriously interested in receiving the training. She says they hope to have 30-40 women participate this year.
The deadline to apply has been extended to July 15.
The training will consist of a three days, four hours a day and spread out over the months of August to October. All three days of training will take place at the Mississippi GOP headquarters in Jackson.
Day 1, August 21, 2018:
- Session one: basic campaign organization, what is a ‘grassroots campaign’ and how do you make the decision to run for office.
Day 2, September 12, 2018:
- Session 2: data and digital aspects of a campaign, fundraising, campaign finance, the legal aspect, and social media management.
Day 3, October 16, 2018:
- Session 3: public relations, press, and public speaking.
“I think the opportunity though this program allows for a discussion to happen on how women in politics are critiqued by the media versus how men are viewed. It’s interesting to listen to what the perceptions are of women and how the younger generations want women to be more involved,” said Fitch.
She believes that with such a high percentage of women that make up the voting population in Mississippi, they should be more involved in the actual decision making process.
As a female GOP member Fitch says the women who run for the Republican party can being a different perspective to what it is to be a fiscal conservative, handling retirement, education needs, and things like childcare. Fitch said having more of this perspective in our politics will make the state better and the future better.
If you are interested in being involved in the program the application is below: