Watch These Women

In the 2004 elections, there are three progressive women running for national office, each with ties to the Jewish community. All three have a strong shot at winning their races. Each is supported by Emily’s List, a political network that helps elect prochoice Democratic women:

Inez Tennenbaum, superintendent of public instruction in South Carolina, an elected office, is running for a U.S. Senate seat vacated by a Democrat, As a progressive, she supports reproductive rights, increased federal expenditures for education, creating incentives for corporations to keep jobs in the United States and improved health care for more citizens. Tennenbaum boasts a slew of familial and philanthropic ties to the Jewish community. A Methodist who is a strong supporter of Israel, she is married to a Jewish man; they are leading charitable supporters of the Jewish community in Columbia, South Carolina. With the state experiencing job losses, frustration, and a drop in Bush popularity, many political pundits believe that this strong, independent, tough-minded woman can win this race.

Allyson Schwartz, who for 14 years has served in the Pennsylvania State Senate, is running for Congress in the 13th district of Pennsylvania, one of a handful of highly competitive and open races. She has been fighting for increased funding for pre-schools, fill-day kindergarten, and reduced class size. She strongly favors reproductive choice for women. She forced insurance companies to cover necessary women’s health services and provide mammograms to women over the age of 40, and worked to ensure quality standards of mammogram facilities. Schwartz has a deep commitment to Israel, has promoted Holocaust education and Holocaust survivor assistance through state legislation and grants and sits on the board of the National Jewish Democratic Council,

Lois Murphy is running for Congress in the 6th district in Pennsylvania. She has served as associate legal counsel for NARAL Pro-choice America and as President and board member of NARAL Pro-Choice Pennsylvania for over 10 years. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Murphy has worked for the Justice Department, in a private law firm, and ran a county campaign for Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. She is married to Ben Eisner, a Jewish labor lawyer. Though she is running against a one-term incumbent, polls suggest that the vast majority of voters in the district do not know who their congressperson is, a fact that gives Murphy a good shot at winning.