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Emily's List: What Is This?

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

EMILY’S List by Ann Hair (VCK charter member, pictured)


I was asked to write an article about EMILY’S List because some of our VCK Democratic Women may not be aware of this organization.


As you can guess, this is a funding source for Democratic, pro choice women who are running for office. And, by the way, they supported Joyce Elliott when she ran against French Hill.


EMILY’s List was founded in 1985 by Ellen R. Malcolm. “Before Ellen Malcolm founded EMILY’s List 30 years ago, no Democratic woman had ever been elected to the Senate in her own right. In 1985, Ellen and a small group of friends decided to change that by developing a new political strategy. To give women candidates credibility and the resources to win, they decided to raise early money and called their organization EMILY’s List (Early Money Is Like Yeast, it “makes the dough rise”). They created a new concept in political fundraising — a donor network that encouraged members to contribute to the candidates EMILY’s List recommended.

They gathered in Ellen’s basement, rolodexes in hand, to send letters to friends asking them to join. From that simple beginning, EMILY’s List has grown into a 5-million-member community and is widely recognized as one of the most powerful political organizations in the country. EMILY’s List has helped elect 26 Democratic pro-choice women to the U.S. Senate, 150 to the U.S. House of Representatives, 16 governors, and nearly 1,100 women to state and local office. We’ve trained nearly 10,000 women to run for office. And since 1985, they’ve raised more than $600 million to elect Democratic pro-choice women to office.


Thanks in large part to Ellen’s leadership, an entire generation of young women and men have now grown up watching women like Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and Hilda Solis make their mark on history — and our Congress is more diverse now than at any time in history. The candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect include our country’s first openly gay senator and every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic woman currently serving in Congress. In 2009, more than 25 percent of appointments to President Barack Obama’s Cabinet were women helped by EMILY’s List.” (From an article on line about Ellen)


Once you join, this is how it works. Every month I get an envelop with extensive information about seven or eight women who are running for the House, the Senate, or for governor of their state. (This office is especially important this election in swing states, because Trump is backing candidates for Secretary of State who usually supervise the elections.) Editor's note: information is also available digitally.


You can choose two or more women to support by sending money to EMILY. In order to even out the amounts, they usually star two women or ask you to send to the first two candidates. Other people are asked to support each of the others. They “bundle” the checks and get them directly to the campaigns. Although they suggest amounts, you can send what you can afford, and there is no requirement to participate every time.


Backing national candidates for the next two elections is important! We do not have a lot of candidates to support in Arkansas this year, but if we lose the federal house and senate, we will be in bad shape nationally.

If you would like, go to www.emilyslist.org. Or, EMILY’s List, 1800 M Street NW, Suite 375N Washington, D. C. 20036 202-326-1400

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