Women’s Political Boot Camp: Saturday, February 25

The KU Political Boot Camp is aimed to encourage women of all political parties to learn more about how to run for office. Female candidates will be on campus to talk about their experiences running for office. They will also do small group workshops to give other future candidates the information they need. Members of the campus community and beyond are invited to participate.

Click here to register!

9-9:30: Welcome and Announcements

Colleen Fitzgerald, KU-APSCUF Office Manager, National Political Women’s Caucus 

9:30-10:  Speakers’ Panel

10-11:15:  Break Out Sessions

Senator Schwank will focus on effective advocacy at the local and state government levels. The legislation and services enacted and provided at these levels of government might  have more impact on people’s lives than federal laws or regulations. She would like to help citizens learn how to become effective advocates for the policies they care about.

Chris Ayala’s focus will be organizing within your community. If you are focusing on building strong local political ties, you have to start with learning more about your community and being an integral part of it. By helping others to organize around their local issues and concerns, you show yourself as someone who not only cares about their community but is part of it as well.

Sam Bennett’s focus will be how to fundraise and get out the vote!

Gail Hoover’s focus will be how to communicate your individual motivation to the public.

11:15-Noon: Open networking

Thank you to our participants!

Christopher Ayala is the statewide organizer for the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). His organizing career began over a decade ago with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) when he successfully helped unionize his workplace; an organization that assists adults and children with autism. Using skills he developed in the United States Air Force and along with his passion for social justice and equality issues; he has successfully organized employees in private healthcare, temporary state employees and day care educators throughout New York State.

In his spare time, Christopher enjoys attending various conventions as both a patron and artisan vendor with his wife Donna.

Christopher has resided in Bethlehem, PA for the last five years with his wife and two of their children.

Sam Bennett, candidate for mayor, Allentown.

Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, author, political strategist, business and civic leader – is best known nationally for her passion to see exponentially more women running for public office and locally for her commitment to the recognition to the women leaders of the civil rights movement.  The past national CEO of the first national organization to financially support women when they run for office, Women’s Campaign Fund and She Should Run and current national board member of the historic National Women’s Political Caucus,  she continues to be in demand as a national expert, motivational speaker and media personality – from Bangladesh to Brussels, from FOX News to PBS.

Her nationally renowned initiative Name It. Change It. fighting political sexism against women – was born out of Bennett’s 2008 run for U.S. Congress where she was one of the most endorsed challengers in the nation, with an historic number of votes and money raised.  A small business owner and former Fortune 500 nationally ranked sales professional and manager – Bennett’s political career began when she was recruited by Republican and Democratic leaders to run for Mayor of Allentown in 2001 where she lost by 46 votes to a 20 year political incumbent.  Leading the top performing swing region in the country in the 2004 Kerry Bush faceoff, chairing her region’s Democratic party to its first-ever Democratic sweeps, and running for Mayor again in 2005, Bennett’s leadership is always marked by exceptional results.

Today, having saved this architectural treasure from multiple forclosures and decrepitude, Bennett transformed The Historic Benner Mansion into her city’s first and still only bed and breakfast serving as its owner innkeeper.  Additionally, she is completing the second edition of her book “Ascend” on the critical importance of more women running for elected office and most importantly, also running for Mayor of Allentown 2017, the third largest city in PA.

State Senator Judy Schwank is committed to serving the people of Berks County. Her passion for promoting sustainable growth, prosperity and preserving agricultural integrity has been exemplified through her many accomplishments in public service.

Elected to the PA State Senate in 2011, Senator Schwank serves as Democratic Chair of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, and the Health & Human Services Committee.  She is Democratic Vice-Chair of the Appropriations Committee and a member of Aging and Youth, Local Government, State Government, and Policy Committees. She also serves as Senate co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus.  She recently was appointed a member of the Board of Governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.  Her legislative initiatives have focused on education, economic development, public health and domestic violence issues.

Judy received her B.S. and M.Ed. in agricultural education from Penn State University.  Judy Schwank recognizes that the needs and concerns of residents of the 11th Senatorial District are not limited by its boundaries.  Her achievements in government, education and nonprofit realms reflect her interest in and advocacy for a brighter future for all Pennsylvanians.

Gail Hoover, former City Council Member, Allentown:

City of Allentown Councilwoman, 2002-2006: Gail served on Council’s Community Development, Public Works, Legal and Legislative and Rules and Chambers. She served on the Allentown Downtown Improvement District Authority, Vacant Property Review Board and the Human Relations Commission, She served several years as President, Hamilton Park Neighborhood Crime Watch.  She is also a member of Old Allentown Preservation Association and the Historical Architectural Review Board. Member of the Lehigh County and Allentown City Democratic Committees, PA-GALA. She is a supporter of PRIDE of Lehigh Valley and FACT (Fighting AIDS Continuously Together. She and her daughter, Phallen have participated in the Host Family Program for International Exchange Students.

Special thanks to Kutztown FMLA for their help!

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