Skip to main content

ICYMI: Members of Congress Discuss How Women Power Democracy

WATCH THE RECORDING HERE

Congresswomen Terri Sewell, Jackie Speier, Lauren Underwood, and Nikema Williams Join the League of Women Voters at Special Breakfast Event

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the League of Women Voters hosted a panel discussion at the National Press Club on the state of democracy with four distinguished women members of Congress. 

The panelists discussed the challenges facing our democracy: mis- and disinformation about elections, federal voting rights legislation, partisan and racial gerrymandering, and the role of women shaping democracy today. These four elements comprise Women Power Democracy, the League’s programmatic focus that will advance a stronger, more representative American democracy.

The discussion was moderated by LWV CEO Virginia Kase Solomón and introduced by LWV Board President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner. Invitations were extended to members of Congress of all parties. 

Federal voting rights legislation like the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was a major focus of the panel’s discussion. Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-5) highlighted the power of freedom fighters in the effort to get federal voting standards passed. “This is critical work, and I never thought that, sitting in the seat that Congressman John Lewis held, that I would still be fighting for the things that he was literally willing to put his life on the line for. So thank you for being democracy and freedom fighters in 2021, when we shouldn’t have to,” she said.

On the subject of fair redistricting, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-7) encouraged voters to get involved in the process right now. “We have to take ownership of our own democracy and our own part that we play in that democracy. Voting is the single most important thing you can do,” she said, “So you have to know what your laws are now. Educate your community to go to the polls now. Then elect people who will do the right thing and be fair-minded in their drawing of maps.”

As the panel discussed the challenges of mis- and disinformation facing our democracy, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) called out the responsibility of the social media companies in her constituency. “Our role really is to call upon the social media companies to be more responsive. They need to be required by law, and fined by law, if they do not take the steps necessary to ensure that those who utilize their sites comply with their user agreements. And we have got to recognize our obligation in Congress to regulate them much more vigorously,” she said.

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) spoke about the role of women in American democracy, especially as mothers. “In many households, it’s Mom who is encouraging you to register to vote,” she said. “Mom is reminding you to fill out that absentee ballot while you’re in college. Mom is reminding you to participate in our democracy. The role of women in our families, in making sure that we’re healthy, making sure that our country is healthy, is one that is unmatched.”

Concluding the event, attended by League of Women Voters members, supporters, and staff, Dr. Turner reminded the audience of our purpose today: “It’s our job to work for women voters, to fight for them, to keep the dream of democracy alive so that we can have fair elections, know what our candidates stand for, and hold them accountable for the decisions they make on our behalf. When we fight for and protect women, we fight for and protect America, because women power democracy.”

Watch a recording of the event here.

###

PRESS CONTACT: Sarah Courtney | (202) 263-1332 | [email protected]