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Woman Representatives and Candidates Need to Feel Safe in Our Community

LETTER TO THE EDITOR


President Lincoln’s famous closing remarks, “a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” have been used for decades as the concise definition of democracy. A true representation of the diverse population of a community is a vital principle for democracy. More importantly, it is the bedrock of good governance. At the local level, where the boots hit the ground and impact daily lives, having elected representation that mirrors the faces of the community has been long advocated for, but often not fully achieved.


Running for any elected office is a challenge. Financial barriers, along with cultural and social obstacles, are just some of the challenges that keep women, women of color, and LGBTQ+ women from running for office in the first place. Political threats, social media attacks, microaggressions, and ugly smears are all-too-often targeted at women who choose to run for office. Women candidates, unlike their male counterparts, are often forced to worry about their safety and the safety of their families when online posts use candidates’ personal lives as fodder for harassment or political attacks based on misinformation and disinformation.


In recent years, more women have sought political representation by running for elected office and we have seen demonstrated increases in online harassment and abuse, including targeted mis- and disinformation campaigns. Advocates, organizations, and researchers have been documenting these disinformation campaigns and started to call them “gendered disinformation” or online gender-based violence. It is believed and argued that the attacks are attempts to inhibit women’s and other marginalized groups' ability to participate in the electoral process … Suppressing their representative voices through a variety of dangerous tactics

Recently we have become aware of gendered disinformation attacks in our local politics. These online attacks have no place in local elections and place women candidates, their families, and campaign volunteers in unsafe, high risk situations. Candidates, especially women candidates, who seek to serve their communities by running for local office do not deserve to feel fear in their own communities just for wanting to serve.

Please join us in standing up against this cowardly, online, gendered based disinformation that is occurring in our local elections. It has no place in our communities or representing us in local elected bodies.


In Solidarity,

Jody Shadduck-McNally, Larimer County Commissioner 

Andrew Boesenecker, State Representative HD 53 

Cathy Kipp, State Representative HD 52

John Kefalas, Larimer County Commissioner 

Kristin Stephens, Larimer County Commissioner 

Jacki Marsh, Loveland Mayor

Julie Patterson

Lisa Chollet, Chair, Congressional District 4 Democrats

Jarrod Munger, Vice Chair of Operations, Colorado Democrats, Morgan County Chair 

Beckie Bean, 2nd Vice Chair, Stonewall Democrats of Colorado

Yara Zokaie, Candidate for State Representative HD52 

Ethnie Treick, Candidate for State Representative HD52

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