Women's History Month 2011 - Mobilizing Women to Seek Legislative Office

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Commission Members at Womens History Month Event 2011  

The City of Fairfax Commission for Women and Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center hosted a panel of women speakers in March in honor of Women's History Month.  The theme, Mobilizing Women to Seek Public Office, was inspired by budding leader Christine Taylor Green, the 9-year-old who lost her life in the Tucson shooting, where she had gone to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. 

The panel of speakers explored what motivates women to seek public office and how to plot paths to winning elections.

The impressive panel of speakers:
• Nancy Bocskor, Faculty, The 2012 Project
• The Honorable Joan Cross, Councilwoman, City of Fairfax
• The Honorable Julie French, Former Montana State Representative
• Olga Hernandez, President of The League of Women Voters of Virginia
• The Honorable Eleanor Schmidt, Councilmember, City of Fairfax
• Victoria Tran, Student Representative, City of Fairfax School Board
• The Honorable Jane Woods, Former Virginia State Senator and Delegate and Former Secretary of Health and Human Resources

2011 Biographies of Panel:

Nancy Bocskor, serves as a faculty member for The 2012 Project* as well as on the faculty of George Washington University.  A featured political analyst for CNN, she is a senior advisor for the Center for Liberty in the Middle East helping launch the Online Activism Institute for women in the Middle East and on the board for Running Start, an organization that encourages young women to run for office. 
*The 2012 Project is a national, non-partisan campaign to increase the number of women in legislative office by identifying and engaging accomplished women to run.  The election of 2012 is a unique opportunity to elect women into Congress.

The Honorable Joan Cross, Councilwoman from the City of Fairfax.  In her 5th term on City Council, Mrs. Cross also serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax Rotary Club.  She helped found and currently chairs Destination Fairfax.

The Honorable Julie French, former Montana State Representative.   Ms. French served in the state legislature for 2 terms, with membership on the Health & Human Services, Agriculture, and Judiciary Committees.  With a background in health care, Ms. French has chaired the Council on Aging and Chamber of Commerce and was on the Executive Team of the National Council of Catholic Women.

Olga Hernandez, President of the League of Women Voters of Virginia*.  Ms. Hernandez has been with the LWV-VA since 1996, and served as president for many years.  She oversees 14 local leagues and all statewide study programs, voter service efforts, publications and events and moderates the Women’s Roundtable which meets during the General Assembly. 
*The League of Women Voters of Virginia, a nonpartisan political membership organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The Honorable Eleanor Schmidt, Councilmember from the City of Fairfax. She is serving her first term on the City Council. A member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Fairfax, she has previously served on boards such as Historic Fairfax City, Inc., the Independence Day Celebration Committee and the Industrial Development Authority.

Victoria Tran, Student Representative of City of Fairfax School Board.  A senior at Fairfax High School, Ms. Tran is the Public Affairs Officer on the Student Government Council.  She is a member of the Math, Spanish and National Honor Societies, a Peer Mediator and member of Model United Nations.

The Honorable Jane Woods, former Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia Senator and Delegate.  With her extensive experience in state politics, Ms. Woods is on the faculty of George Mason University and founded a consulting company, Driftwoods, LLC.  She served as Associate Director of Virginia Girls State for many years and is a member of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, Fairfax Futures and AMERIGROUP National Advisory Board.

Jane Woods at Commission for Women Event 2011