Electing for Change

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    "Remember Your First Time?"

    That's the eyebrow-raising theme of a new ad campaign aimed at getting more single American women to vote, headed up by Women's Voices, Women Vote. But it's going to take more than a raised eyebrow to change the fact that 20 million single American women didn't show up at the polls in Election 2004.

    This short PSA called "Dreams" (go on – play the link above if you haven't already) poignantly looks the female viewer in the eye and says, "We don't have to dream about the future; We can wake up and vote for it."

    102907FEATURE2.jpg That powerful message is the same philosophy Pat Stern, a Sycamore Township Trustee hopeful, adopted for her campaign. "Every door I knock on, people ask, 'Why do you want to do this?' in a negative way," she says. "People in general are very upset with our current leaders and feel they are all corrupt and dishonest. So, they feel that there vote will not change that system. But they are sadly mistaken. Every vote counts."

    Stern, who if elected will be the first woman to serve her township, says all politics are local and we need to make changes on the very lowest level. And, according to Leslie Ghiz, Cincinnati City Council Member, it's especially easy to get involved on the local level.

    Ghiz says getting involved is as simple as calling your local political headquarters. Or, if you feel strongly about politics, run for office. And boy do we need it, because the lacking female representation isn't just at the poll; It's also on the ballot. In fact, of all elected officials under 35 years old, 86 percent are male, according to Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers. And of the nearly 12,000 people to serve in Congress since itÂ’s founding, only 215 have been Women, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

    According to Ghiz, all it takes is 500 signatures, time, patience and passion. Her passion revolves around "Wanting Cincinnati to be a fabulous city for when I start a family." For example, the no. 1 issue on her platform is public safety. "I don't want to bring children up in an O.K. Corral. I'm not going to do it, and I don't expect anyone else to either."

    102907FEATURE1.jpg And if time is your concern, use Stern and Ghiz as your beacons of multitasking inspiration. Stern not only has a husband and toddler at home, she is also the executive director of the Sharonville-based Intercommunity Cable Regulatory Commission, the state chapter president of National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, is a member of the Women in Cable organization and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sycamore Senior Center. Ghiz is also heavily involved in community organizations, on top of owning her own law practice, currently serving on City Council and planning a Nov. 17, 2007 wedding.

    If you do want to run, Ghiz offers an important piece of advice: Grow some thick skin. Pronto. "People are downright mean," she says. "But, you know what? We wouldn't be here if not for the strong women before us." Especially now with the invent of blogs, vlogs and web-based opinion outlets where anyone can have a soap box, Ghiz says that your skin needs to be never-had-a-pedicure-in-your-life thick.

    "There's this perception that we're either a bitch or really nice. If I scream and yell too long about a particular issue, people complain." But in Ghiz's eyes, she earned the right to squawk about the city's issues. "Nothing burns me more than when you see a 29 percent voting turnout," she says. "You can't complain if you're not involved."

    So, get out there, let your voice be heard and educate yourself with these non-partisan facts about politics online:

    Top Photo Credits:
    Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography

    Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home

    Model: Jenny Vastine