Montgomery kicks off fall election season
Friday, Sep. 18, 2015
Democracy In Action recipient and former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery spoke on women and leadership at last night's fall membership dinner.
Montgomery, who received the League's prestigious DIA award last year, discussed her involvement with the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute, a nine-month training program for Republican women who aspire to elected office.
The 15-year-old institute, named for Montgomery's friend and Ohio's first woman speaker of the House of Representatives, recruits women to run for office. The seminars expose participants to local, state and national politics; public policy and building consensus; public speaking; civics education; campaigning tips, and the art of communicating in a male-dominated environment. "If you go to ask a woman to run for office, you get two responses typically," Montgomery said. "'I'm not qualified,' or, 'Not now.' We help them believe they can do things they don't think they are qualified for."
One of the most important things about the program, she said, was the bonding, encouragement and permission to accomplish things the trainees did not initially think they could. While the institute is partisan and focuses its efforts on Republican women, ranging in age from "fresh out of college" to 65, Montgomery said the benefits of having more women in public office and learning how to work across party lines transcend politics, resulting in better public policy for everyone.
The evening included a social hour and dinner at the Clintonville Woman's Club along with an update on Issue 1 -- the League's bipartisan redistricting proposal -- from Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. Davis encouraged members to share Issue 1 information throughout their personal and professional networks so that the message does not get lost in the media coverage of the other issues on the ballot.