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Power-of-voting event spotlights Sizzlin’ Women in 2018

by Michelle Wilson Bradley, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

With the Aug. 2 election as the backdrop, the Memphis Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Memphis Area Women’s Council and the League of Women’s Voters hosted a “Sizzlin’ Women in 2018” event at the Hattiloo Theatre on Tuesday evening.

“We began with a non-partisan training in November (taught by) women who had run successfully before,” said Bettye Boone, immediate past president of the Coalition. “We are here to support women, specifically African American women, (but) we wish all much success.”

Over 50 women – about one third of them African Americans – are running for local and state offices, Boone said. “It is so great to see so many women running for office. (It) doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat.”

Deborah Clubb, who has been executive director of the Women’s Council since 2004, said, “We need to know each other and help support each other. It is so terribly important to vote – for our country and our well being. …We want to celebrate and encourage the many women that came out to run (for office).”

Sherry Hewlett, who handles member outreach at the League of Women Voters, and Peg Watkins, a past president, were excited about the work the organization has accomplished since 1920 through education and advocacy of major public policy issues.

Jocelyn Wurzburg, a retired lawyer and now a professional mediator, said, “If women don’t support women, shame on them. It’s our year.”

There were several candidates, staffers and volunteers at the event.

Erika Sugarmon, a candidate for City Council District 9, Position 2 said, “I am a teacher of 20 years and want to make a difference. I believe in trickle up economics, not trickle down.”

The Super District 9 election is a non-partisan race, with Sugarmon looking to outpoll Charley Burch, Ford Canale, Tyrone Romeo Franklin, Lisa Moore, Tim Ware and and David Winston.

Danielle Schonbaum, who is unopposed in the Democratic Primary for State House District 83, said Shelby County “is not adequately represented at the state level. They try to dictate to us. Until we can break the super majority that Republicans have, we will continue to get left out.”

Either Republicans Doyle Silliman or Mark White will take on Schonbaum in the General Election.

Like Schonbaum, many of the female candidates are running for the first time.

Temiika Gipson, the Democratic Party nominee for Circuit Court Clerk, is a single mother of four. “I am running with 25 years experience in court operations. I currently supervise a staff of 25 courtroom clerks.”

Gipson, whose daughters were on hand passing out literature and speaking in support of her, is seeking to derail Republican Party opponent Tom Leatherwood.

(For more information, contact the League of Women Voters at 901-359-3950.)

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