Could there be a revolt against congressional lawmakers in the 2018 midterm elections led by women? That potential outcome was suggested in speeches Saturday at Fresno State delivered by two women well-known in Democratic circles.
Amanda Renteria, chief of operations for the state’s Justice Department and a top officialin Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, was joined by Dolores Huerta, also a Clinton supporter and leader in the farmworkers rights movement, at a human rights event where rights for women was the focus. The two spoke about their success in navigating the political and activist arenas and told the audience that there is still much work to do to elect more women into office.
The event was hosted by the Human Rights Coalition of the Central Valley, a nonprofit group made up of faith leaders, scholars and community activists. The event came one day before Human Rights Day, which is Dec. 10.
The North Gym 118 room was filled with mostly women – young and old. When Renteria mentioned recent actions by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans, she told the audience that they have a responsibility to get out and vote in the coming elections as residents of “one of the most powerful congressional districts” in the country.
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“We planted seeds in 2016, we’re seeing them sprout in 2017,” Renteria said, noting the increase in participation by women in politics and Clinton’s attempt to be the first woman to be elected as president. “But in 2018, it’s time to let them bloom.”
Renteria encouraged the audience Saturday to push so more women can be elected during the midterm elections. Huerta told the audience that “Fresno has a lot of work to do” because Renteria and Huerta’s son, Emilio Huerta, both were defeated in Fresno County in their congressional campaigns. Huerta said her son plans to run against Republican David Valadao again in 2018 – and she asked for the audience’s support.
Renteria said that political movements led by Huerta have made it easier for women to participate in politics and government and to gain a louder voice. Huerta, taking the stage after Renteria, rhetorically asked Renteria “what happened?” in reference to her congressional campaign defeat but also to Clinton’s recently published book with the same title.
Huerta said misogyny is why many women can’t rise to higher political positions.
“We need to dismantle systems of oppression,” Huerta said. She told the audience that communities must start to educate women that they have greater roles to play in society and that they don’t need anyone to support them. Her comments drew heavy applause and cheers.