Local Dems to discuss gender politics

By Linda Armacost and Jeff Benesch

In our second installation of “Stark Contrasts,” La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will hear a panel of experts delve into the differences the parties have to offer voters this November about women’s issues. Democrats are looking to elect the first woman president in our nation’s history. Republicans are running a man who is a serial misogynist, famous for insulting women, and is even losing the support of Republican women. The Republican candidate is being advised by Roger Ailes, who was recently fired from his Fox News fiefdom for habitual sexual harassment. We’ll also examine the platforms of the respective parties out of their national conventions.

Democrats support a woman’s right to choose, pay equity, raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, debt-free higher education, access to family planning and affordable health care, middle class tax relief, higher taxes for the 2 percent, and equal opportunity for executive promotion, while Republicans offer as regressive a platform on women’s issues as we have seen in decades. Trump would name judges that share his economic and social views, while Clinton would look to further our judicial gains in social justice and equal treatment under law, preserving and extending voting rights, gender and racial equality, and economic regulation that works for our middle class, not just for the very wealthy.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.45.22 PMDid you know that while women comprise 33 percent of the Democratic caucus in Congress, Republican women number less than 9 percent of electees? And their numbers are shrinking.

At our Sept. 7 meeting, we’ll have a star-studded panel discuss these issues and much more.

We’ll be honored to entertain District 9 City Councilmember Marti Emerald, Assemblymember Shirley Weber, San Diego State University (SDSU) associate professor of Women’s Studies Doreen Mattingly and local political analyst and strategist, and one of our repeat favorites, Laura Fink. The panel will be moderated by longtime club member Carol Perkins, herself a longtime Women’s Studies professor at SDSU and elsewhere. These five women have a keen sense of the growing role of women in politics, business, education and media, and will each offer a unique and personal perspective on their own struggles and achievements, the current political landscape, and how important it is that we share and educate voters this cycle of the consequences of choosing the wrong candidate and party, and the affect for future generations of all Americans and women in particular.

Doreen Mattingly holds a PhD in Geography from Clark University, and master’s degree from UCLA, and a bachelor of arts from UC Berkeley. Dr. Mattingly regularly teaches courses titled: Women’s Work, Sex, Power, and Politics, Women in International Development, and Women’s Movements and Activism, and has led SDSU travel study trips exploring women’s lives in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Her academic publications are on a range of topics, including women’s employment, domestic work, immigration, urban politics, feminist research methods, and women’s activism in the 1970s. She is the author of “A Feminist in the White House: Midge Costanza, the Carter Years, and America’s Culture Wars.”

Laura Fink is founder of the consulting firm Fink & Hernandez Consulting and assists political candidates and groups, corporations, nonprofits and labor unions with communications, civic engagement and public policy endeavors. Her experience includes facilitation of multimillion-dollar campaigns for state and national political candidates. Her client list includes Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni G. Atkins, U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, City Councilmember Todd Gloria, state Sen. Marti Block and many others, including her fellow Wellesley College alum Hillary Clinton. Fink is also a political analyst for several San Diego and national news outlets and is very involved with San Diego Grantmakers.

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club serves members from the communities of San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee, Casa de Oro and other nearby East County communities. We meet the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa, starting at 6:30 p.m. Please find us on Facebook or visit online at

—Linda Armacost is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Reach them at

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