There’s No Such Thing As Gender Equality If You’re A Women In Politics

Virginia García Beaudoux
University of Buenos Aires

March 8, 2017

In my work as a gender and communications specialist I have met – and in some cases professionally advised – female ministers, legislators, mayors, community leaders and judges across the world, from the Dominican Republic and Honduras to the Netherlands and Sweden. The Conversation

I’m Argentinean, so the struggles described to me by Latin American female leaders, who confront inter-party resistance and media double standards on a daily basis, are familiar ones. Our region’s gender gap is a disheartening 30%; Guatemala and Paraguay are among the world’s least gender-equal places.

I have been surprised, however, to hear that women in northern Europe – the most gender-equal region in the world – report the same grievances. While researching my latest book on women in power, I interviewed 18 female politicians in Sweden and The Netherlands, certain that their experience in public service would starkly contrast that of their Latin American peers. After all, in those countries, women already occupy 40% of political positions – and they didn’t need a quota system to do it. Only in a gender-equal paradise could that happen, right?

Sadly not.

The women I interviewed varied in age and ideological background. Some were already retired and others were engaged as EU parliamentarians, congresspeople, government ministers, judges and congressional commission presidents.

It turns out that although women in Sweden and the Netherlands have achieved near parity in national parliaments, they nonetheless share many challenges. Every person interviewed – conservative, progressive, junior or senior – felt that women still had a long way to go to achieve substantive equality.

“When we talk about involvement of women in politics,” one Dutch interviewee said, “it is not just a matter of numbers, but … also of their position to exert influence. How many of them are in ‘hard core’ areas like budget, for example, and really have visibility?”

In other words, equality is not just numeric.

In the Netherlands, since the 1970s “gender mainstreaming” effort, the idea of gender equality is so firmly instilled that citizens won’t vote for parties whose candidate lists aren’t roughly gender-equal, ensuring women get on the ticket. The EU first began to legislate equal pay and equal rights for women in 1979, pressuring member states to adopt such laws nationally. So a top-down cultural shift has been underway for decades.

All the women I spoke to agreed that this has helped, but only to a degree. Women are still under-represented in ministries and decisive parliamentary commissions: among developed-world nations, only 17% of government ministers are women. It’s also meaningful that in Spain only 9% of male ministers do not have children, while 45% of female ministers do not.

Neither Sweden nor the Netherlands has yet seen a female head of state – something that, for example, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica have all achieved.

We’ve still got a long way to go

So even in the world’s most egalitarian countries, the debate on women’s rights continues.

“There are still many stereotypes that exert influence, especially on domestic task divisions,” one Dutch parliamentarian said. Yes, even Western European women confront the “can she have it all?” dilemma.

Another woman, an EU parliamentarian, told me:

When I became Member of Parliament, [the media] asked me how I managed to combine my work as a politician with motherhood or family life. Before we had kids, my husband had two jobs … He gave up one to take care of the household and our children. After eight years, he became Alderman of Amsterdam, … and then everybody turned to me and asked what I would do now. I answered ‘well, I have the same job, he is the one who has a new one, so ask him.’

Of course, in Northern Europe as in the rest of the world, stereotypes and double-standards still influence media coverage of women. Women said journalists made numerous comments about their hair or clothing, or about looking exhausted after a late-night session (men were celebrated for their stamina).

One woman with experience as both an EU parliamentarian and government minister, recounted this anecdote:

A photo journalist came to me and said ‘Madam, you have always the same suit on’. I said ‘Yes, that’s not a problem for me, is it a problem for you?’ And he answered that in fact it was … because it gave the impression that photographs were always the same one. I always wore a brooch, so I told him, ‘Ok, I will give you something new: I will change the brooches.’

Women make the road

The women interviewed shared recommendations for fixing these inequalities – again, political affiliation made no difference in these policy recommendations.

Every woman commented on the need to address gender bias in early childhood education. One congresswoman who suggested working with young boys and girls to raise awareness of gender stereotypes also commented that teachers at preschools and schools must be trained in equality as well. And indeed, some Scandanavian nations are, controversially, already mandating gender-neutral reading (goodbye, Snow White).

Although defying gender roles is everyone’s job, women have a decisive part to play. Each and every woman I interviewed, regardless of age or political position, agreed that mentorship was key to her success. Women with more experience offered advice to those with less, and gave them strength to keep fighting.

At a collective level, too, these powerful women agreed that women’s movements and women’s organisations, both within civil society and inside political parties, are fundamental to the continued struggle for political inclusion. Such groups offer women “a place where women meet [and] fight for their causes”, one interview subject said.

When Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau introduced his new cabinet, comprised of 15 men and 15 women, after his 2015 election victory, a reporter asked why it was important for him to have a gender-equal cabinet.

Trudeau’s answer was, “Because it’s 2015.”

But it’s 2017 now, and I can’t seem to find gender paradise – only more women struggling for it. Maybe in 2018?

Virginia García Beaudoux, Professor of Political Communication and Public Opinion, University of Buenos Aires

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Can a Chilean Outsider Revive Latin America’s Ailing Left?

By Cristóbal Bellolio
Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
February 10, 2017

According to popular wisdom, if a government’s approval ratings are in the low 20s with an election around the corner, odds are that the ruling party will not retain power; people will vote for change.

But popular wisdom is not always right. And this is the hope of the Chilean left.

Just 18 months after winning the 2013 presidential election with 62% of votes, President Michelle Bachelet suffered an unprecedented political breakdown. Public support for both her and her Nueva Mayoría administration – a coalition of the Socialist, Christian Democrat and Communist parties, among others – fell to the low 20s by mid-2015, where it has remained since.

For the November 2017 election, this centre-left coalition had originally set its sights on Ricardo Lagos, a former president who built his political career in the 1980s on courageous, repeated opposition to Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. And Lagos is willing to run.

But younger progressives are critical of Lagos’ 2000-2006 administration, arguing that was more market-oriented than socialist. Despite the 79-year-old’s commendable energy, he is polling at 5%.

This situation should favour the prominent conservative ex-president Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014), who is often portrayed as a successful businessman with a Berlusconian twist, to win Chile’s 2017 election.

A new hope for the left

But from this unexciting scenario – two former presidents running for president, neither particularly popular – a new name has emerged: journalist and former television news anchorman Alejandro Guillier.

Guiller made his political debut three years ago, winning a senate seat as an independent. He was supported by the Partido Radical, a traditional party that, though its best days are long past, has been a loyal – if almost voiceless – member of the centre-left coalition that has ruled Chile for 23 of the past 27 years.

Now, with Guillier, the Partido Radical has discovered a political goldmine. The newcomer has authoritatively surpassed Lagos in the polls, with support increasing from 1% to 14% in the past six months.

This has made Guillier into an instant cause celebre, and some Socialist congressmen who would be expected to support Lagos have already shifted their attentions his way. So, too, have many government officials who, among other interests, suddenly believe it’s possible to keep their posts.

Guillier, the candidate from nowhere, now seems like the only serious competition for Piñera. With recent predictions anticipating a dead heat between the two, he is likely to secure the ruling coalition’s nomination to run in November.

The fall

Understanding Guillier’s rise means understanding Bachelet’s fall.

There are two theories to account for her loss of support. Moderate intellectuals have suggested that the Chilean people are simply less socialist than Bachelet and her team thought.

Bachelet’s progressive 2013 campaign platform, which absorbed the ambitious demands of a 2011 left-wing students’ movement then gaining widespread support, proposed rewriting Chile’s constitution and establishing free university tuition, among other goals.

But it’s possible that Chileans were, in fact, not quite done with neoliberalism, which the country has largely embraced since the Pinochet years. In this hypothesis, the Bachelet government’s plight can be explained away as an inaccurate political diagnosis.

A second theory faults Michelle Bachelet’s own thundering loss of political capital for her government’s demise. To these commentators, the president’s personal popularity – not her reform agenda – was the one and only reason she won the 2013 election.

If, as this argument goes, most people respond more to a candidate than to their platform, then the Nueva Mayoría coalition’s political failure correlates to Bachelet’s fall from grace, which began when her eldest son and his wife were implicated in suspicious real estate dealings in early 2015.

The perception that a Bachelet family member used his relationships for profit was hard to square with the president’s discourse countering abuse and inequality.

Bachelet herself is accused of no wrongdoing. But, in Latin America today, the mere hint of corruption is damning because it resonates with other scandals across the region.

Placing blame on the shoulders of leaders allows progressives in Chile to avoid facing the awkward hypothesis that Chileans may endorse crucial aspects of a market economy.

This hypothesis also comforts progressives struggling to account for the sorry end of the 2000s-era “pink tide” – the rise of leftist leaders across the continent, from Lula in Brazil to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. The Latin American left once seemed unstoppable, but recently corruption and discontent in many countries has fuelled a backlash.

In Brazil in 2016, a conservative wing of congress impeached the left-wing president Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s chosen successor. The ouster was pursued on constitutionally shaky grounds, but leveraging a simmering Brazilian case of corruption gave the opposition the power that neither ideological debate nor electoral process could.

Moral suspicions also led Argentina to vote out Kirchner in 2016, and deepened the profound crisis gripping Venezuela after two decades of Hugo Chávez’s “updated” socialism (though corruption is far from the only reason Venezuela is failing).

And the left will rise again?

Back in Chile, Guillier has said he will stand for many of the same ideals as Bachelet, adding that, political resistance aside, her reforms are much needed. He has also promoted a state-run economic growth strategy.

Guillier’s narrative aims to preserve the social-democratic spirit, but with a bright new face – uncontaminated by corruption, almost without a past.

Accordingly, Guillier sells himself not as a politician but as a grassroots guy. Besides, it’s hard to be more credible than the man who delivers the nation’s news every night.

Critics highlight Guillier’s populist traits (attacking politicians in bulk, endorsing any claim that happens to be fashionable) and his lack of an inner-circle of intellectuals and policy advisers.

But for now, Guillier’s autonomy and somewhat ambiguous opinions are working for him. And, of course, being anti-establishment has been winning voters across the world.

If Guillier wins, political thinking in Chile won’t change much, but the interpreter will be new. And, for the ailing Latin American left, that might be good enough.The Conversation

Cristóbal Bellolio, Adjunct professor, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

This article was originally published on The Conversation. 

We Deeply Regret to Inform You That Donald Trump Will be The 45th President of the United States of America – An Opinion


January 12, 2017
By Herb Ryan

Yesterday, January 11, 2017,  the President-elect blundered through a press conference at his palace in New York. This was his first press conference, actually one long vocal tweet, since July of 2015. Trumps “folie de grandeur” only added to the conviction of many that the nightmare is all to real. Just imagine if you will, his Inaugural Speech on January 20, eight days from today. Hopefully, he will be able to complete the swearing-in ceremony without adding any derisive remarks. The real entertainment, because this is nothing but a reality show, starts when he goes off script. His ego will never let him read the teleprompter for more than three minutes. Then all hell should break loose.

Henny Youngman, bless his soul was the king of one liners. But, Youngman was a professional entertainer and knew where the line was drawn and made every effort not to cross it. Trump, unlike Youngman, has no sense of humor, and there is no line his megalomania will not cross. Sound familiar, perhaps The Ride of the Valkyries, German Beer Halls and 1939 may stir comparisons in your mind.

Opening remarks by incoming director of propaganda Sean Spicer referenced the previous nights news reports about Russia’s attempt to influence Trumps election calling CNN and Buzzfeed  for their reports “sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks,” and referred to the former as a “left wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect’s campaign.” Spicer continued “It was highly irresponsible of them to drop highly salacious, and flat-out false information on the internet just days before the president-elect takes the oath of office.”

Highly salacious? How about the October 28 “Comey Effect” letter sent to the House Judiciary Committee announcing new Clinton emails and his subsequent letter on November 6 that absolved Clinton (after millions of votes had already been cast early).

In his opening remarks, Trump whined about being picked on by the mainstream press, and then thanked the news organizations that published articles he approved of, “There were some news organizations that were so professional, and I’ve just gone up a notch as to what I think of you.” He also bashed the intelligence agencies for releasing the info. “This is going to be a tremendous blot on their record.”

Other well thought out one-liners by Trump:

He talked about how pharma “gets away with murder,” and wants to see more bidding for drugs. “We don’t bid properly, and we will save billions of dollars by doing so,” said Trump.

Trump announced that he has named David J. Shulkin his VA secretary, and before taking the first question, he said: “I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created.”

John Roberts of Fox News, who asked the pres.-elect whether or not he had received the notorious two-page summary, and if he believes Putin ordered hacks of the DNC and RNC. “If so, how will that impact your relationship with him?”

“It’s a disgrace that information would be let out,” answered Trump. “It’s fake news. It’s phony stuff and it didn’t happen. Sick people put that crap together.” And as far as the hacking, he admits that he believes Russia did it, but also mentioned he thinks the U.S. also gets hacked by other countries.

He also criticized the DNC, saying that their defense against the hacks wasn’t sufficient. “If Donald Trump got the questions before the debate, it would be the biggest story in the history of stories.”

“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” Trump stated.

Hallie Jackson of NBC, asked about business dealings with Russia and if he will release the tax returns.

“I have no loans or deals with Russia,” said Trump. “Over the weekend, I was offered over $2 billion to do a real estate deal in Dubai. I turned it down, but I didn’t have to. I will have no conflict of interest, even though I could run the Trump Organization and the country, but I don’t want to do that.”

“I’m still under audit,” Trump said. “Anyway, only reporters care about the tax returns. The people don’t.”

A Trump attorney named Sheri Dillon from the firm Morgan, Lewis and Bockius made some remarks regarding the Pres.-elect’s business arrangements and how he is handing over the reins of the Trump Organization to Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. She compared Trump’s business situation to that of Nelson Rockefeller when he became vice president, and remarked that Trump “should not be expected to destroy the company he built.”

Major Garrett from CBS News asked a series of questions: “Based on your tweet from this morning, are we living in Nazi Germany? What is the timeline in terms of your Supreme Court  nominations? Will the U.S. taxpayer be paying for this border wall?”

“Mexico will reimburse us for the wall,” said Trump. “I want to get it started as soon as possible, and the Mexican government has been terrific.”

Trump also stood by “Nazi Germany” tweet, once again going after intelligence agencies for leaking “fake news.”

He later referred to BuzzFeed as “a failing pile of garbage that will suffer the consequences.” He told CNN’s Jim Acosta: “Your organization is terrible, and I am not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”

There you have it, everyone who voted for Trump, pat yourself on the back for electing the most unworthy person in the world to The Office of The President of The United States. And may God have mercy on us all.

Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

Trump is not a European-style populist. That’s our problem

Original Article Source: The Conversation

By Professor of Sociology, Cornell University

Two days after the U.S. presidential election, Marine Le Pen – the leader of the right wing French National Front – tweeted out congratulations to Donald Trump.

During a controversial BBC interview that aired a few days later, Le Pen summed up how she believes the American election will affect her own electoral chances. She said Trump’s victory “renders possible what had been presented as impossible – that what the people want, the people can have.”

Brexit and the election of Trump have given hope not only to Le Pen, but also to her European confrères, such as leader of the Dutch nationalist right Freedom Party Geert Wilders, as they look forward to their own elections in spring 2017. As savvy politicians, they are exploiting the American election for their own purposes.

Yet, despite the temporal coincidence and surface similarities, I believe the election of Trump in the U.S. is fundamentally different from what is occurring in Europe. The Trump phenomenon is not simply an American iteration of European populism. It’s also potentially more dangerous.

As I argue in my book “Illiberal Politics in Neo-liberal Times,” populism – or extreme nationalism – began to gain ground in Europe during the 1990s as a reaction against the accelerated process of European integration. European populists sought to preserve their national institutions against encroaching Europeanization – a term they use sometimes interchangeably with globalization. Globalization is a force that has contributed to putting large numbers of people, particularly young people, out of work and facing a bleak future on both sides of the Atlantic.

In contrast, Trump questions the legitimacy of political institutions and the reality of facts in a manner that European populists do not.

Let’s consider the important ways that America and Europe differ by first turning to the European example.

An imperfect union

Le Pen has been gaining ground since the 2012 French presidential election. Recent polls place her on track to move to the final round in the 2017 presidential elections, although most analysts agree she’s unlikely to win the presidency.

For years, scholars have debated whether the lack of direct popular participation in EU governance mattered.

They got their answer beginning in 2008 when economic crisis and austerity politics proved that democracy did matter. European citizens began voting in national parliamentary elections for parties that advocated economic protectionism. For example, in 2011 the True Finns scored 19 percent of the vote. In 2010, the Swedish Democrats had their first breakthrough. In 2012, the Greek left populist party Syriza polled at 16.8 percent and is currently the main party in Greece, and the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn broke through at 7 percent.

The festering European economic crisis was joined by two additional crises in 2015 – the refugee crisis and the security crisis that public terrorist attacks generated. All of this was played out in mass media and provided the final push for nationalist parties across Europe to come close to achieving political power.

An all-American election

Donald Trump is more than an Atlantic Ocean away from Marine Le Pen.

As I see it, Trump’s electoral victory is a peculiarly American product of working-class unemployment, a deep distrust of and resentment of educated elites and a celebrity culture that valorizes street smarts.

We should not forget that Trump was elected at the margins – razor-thin layers of non-college-educated voters living in rural Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania appear to have tipped the outcome of the election.

Trump tapped into what Richard Hofstadter identified in 1966 as “anti-intellectualism” in American life in a way that his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton never could.

Trump’s 3 a.m. tweets exploited social media. His tweets and retweets generated many more millions of followers than traditional media. In a popular cultural world where “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” tell their audience anyone can be a “star,” Trump reigned supreme. On his reality television show “Celebrity Apprentice,” he was the uber-successful billionaire and alpha male who lived in a golden tower – an image that is arguably more accessible to the average person than the closeted world of Hamptons cocktail parties that Clinton was portrayed as inhabiting.

Trump exploited the fears, feelings of neglect and fantasies of his voters. He deployed rhetoric that combined a cadence of danger with megadoses of emotional empathy. Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention invoked law and order and was replete with descriptions of violent acts that victimized ordinary Americans – particularly those who live in inner cities. Trump claimed that he was the “only one” who could save ordinary Americans. He would be their “champion.” He would “fight” for them. He would “win” for them.

A different reality in Europe

In contrast to Trump, European populists are committed conservative nationalists. They are responding to a crisis of management on many levels in EU governance – debt, migration and security. Many are experienced politicians who have held office and have thought out policy positions – no matter how one feels about those positions.

The media often emphasize the anti-immigrant positions of European populists. But these politicians are more than single-issue xenophobes. When European populists say they want to express the will of the people, they have some specific issues in mind. They want to exit the European Union and reestablish national governance. They want to return to the “social Europe” that began to crumble in the 1970s.

An American rootlessness

Trump has tapped into what sociologist Emile Durkheim identified as anomie – a state of profound rootlessness and dislocation that occurs when institutions such as family and work break down. The salesman in Trump seemed to have grasped this instinctively. He was willing to say what perhaps others were thinking and to shatter verbal taboos.

Mussolini inspects athletes at a stadium in Rome on Oct. 31, 1927. AP Photo

Pundits have also compared Trump to another European figure I’ve studied – Benito Mussolini. Some see similarities in the men’s physical appearance, personal style and authoritarian ways.

This may be a more apt comparison.

The motto of the Italian fascist party was “Believe, Obey, Fight!” – an injunction to action without a defined object – a command to do anything that the leader requires. In other words, style without content.

“Make America Great Again” is a similar slogan. It opens the door to virtually anything. So far it has encouraged white nationalists to justify public attacks on Americans of color which have risen since the election.

It is a rare event when citizens turn their back on things that even basic civics teaches about good governance – such as the legitimacy of political institutions, the free press and the electoral system. This, to my mind, is the true American exceptionalism, and it is profoundly dangerous. Europeans have some idea what the populist script will be; Americans do not.

Mabel Berezin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.



Alejandra Y. Castillo Receives National Urban League’s “Women Of Power” Award

WASHINGTON (Aug. 9, 2016) —  The National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Alejandra Y. Castillo received the National Urban League’s (NUL) “Women of Power Award” during the 2016 “Women of Power & Business Leaders Awards Luncheon,” Aug. 4 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The “Women of Power” award is designed to recognize women leaders who are making an impact in the world of arts, politics, journalism, justice and sports.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award from the NUL and to be in the presence of so many dynamic and powerful women, past, present and future,” said MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo. “It’s so important that we continue to celebrate and support one another. This is one way that we can help ensure even more women are in position to lead, grow and contribute to the success of our nation.”

Other 2016 honorees included; White House Senior Advisor Valerie B. Jarrett, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Broward County Dr. Germaine Baugh-Smith, Fellow and Vice President of Community Investment for Comcast Corporation and Executive Vice President of the Comcast Foundation Charisse R. Lillie, Esq., and President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund Cecile Richards.

The awards luncheon was part of the 2016 National Urban League Conference: Save our Cities: Education, Jobs and Justiceheld Aug. 3-6 in Baltimore. The annual conference also featured a career and networking fair, entrepreneur summit, young professional’s summit, and information sessions and workshops on topics relating to education, business, the economy, health, and justice.

Past “Women of Power” award winners include MSNBC/NBC Anchor Tamron Hall, Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios, Professional Boxer Laila Ali, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President, Morehouse School of Medicine and hip-hop legend, entrepreneur and philanthropist, MC Lyte.

MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo receives her “Women of Power” Award from National Urban League President Marc H. Morial and CBS Correspondent Michelle Miller during the 2016 Women of Power & Business Leaders Awards Luncheon In Baltimore.Photo:prnewswire



WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) today announced the number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States has been cut nearly in half since 2010.  The data revealed a 17-percent decrease in veteran homelessness between January 2015 and January 2016—quadruple the previous year’s annual decline—and a 47-percent decrease since 2010.

Through HUD’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) estimate of America’s homeless population, communities across the country reported that fewer than 40,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness on a given night in January 2016. The January 2016 estimate found just over 13,000 unsheltered homeless veterans living on their streets, a 56-percent decrease since 2010. View local estimates of veteran homelessness.

This significant progress is a result of the partnership among HUD, VA, USICH, and other federal, state and local partners. These critical partnerships were sparked by the 2010 launch of Opening Doors, the first-ever strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. The initiative’s success among veterans can also be attributed to the effectiveness of the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. Since 2008, more than 85,000 vouchers have been awarded and more than 114,000 homeless veterans have been served through the HUD-VASH program.

“We have an absolute duty to ensure those who’ve worn our nation’s uniform have a place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.  “While we’ve made remarkable progress toward ending veteran homelessness, we still have work to do to make certain we answer the call of our veterans just as they answered the call of our nation.”

“The dramatic decline in Veteran homelessness is the result of the Obama administration’s investments in permanent supportive housing solutions such as HUD-VASH and Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) programs, extensive community partnerships, coordinated data and outreach, and other proven strategies that put Veterans first,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “Although this achievement is noteworthy, we will not rest until every Veteran in need is permanently housed.”

“Together, we are proving that it is possible to solve one of the most complex challenges our country faces,” said Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “This progress should give us confidence that when we find new ways to work together and when we set bold goals and hold ourselves accountable, nothing is unsolvable.”

In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness with the goal of accelerating progress toward the ambitious national goal of ending veteran homelessness. More than 880 mayors, governors, and other local officials have joined the challenge and committed to ending veteran homelessness in their communities. To date, 27 communities and two states have effectively ended veteran homelessness, serving as models for others across the nation.

HUD and VA have a wide range of programs that prevent and end homelessness among veterans, including health care, housing solutions, job training and education. In FY 2015, these programs helped more than 157,000 people—including 99,000 veterans and 34,000 children—secure or remain in permanent housing. Since 2010, more than 360,000 veterans and their families have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused or prevented from becoming homeless through programs administered by HUD and VA.

More information about VA’s homeless programs is available at More information about HUD’s programs is available here or by calling the HUDVET National Hotline at (877) 424-3838. Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless should contact their local VA Medical Center and ask to speak to a homeless coordinator or call 1-877-4AID-VET.

Hawks Campaign Sweeps Across South Dakota

U.S. House candidate Paula Hawks meets with voters in Rapid City. Photo: Hawks for U.S.House Campaign

Sioux Falls, SD July 21, 2016 -Speaking at the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Wacipi and hosting town halls in Watertown, Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Custer and Rapid City, U.S. House candidate Paula Hawks continued to focus her campaign on the issues most important to South Dakota including agriculture, Social Security, Medicare and Indian Health Services.

“Getting out and meeting voters is my favorite part of the campaign. Obviously, the town halls are a chance for me to audition and prove to South Dakotans why I would best represent them in the U.S. House, but it’s also an opportunity for me to learn from voters about the issues that most impact them and their families. My vision for South Dakota is bold but simple. The same fields that feed our families, can fuel our cars and power our homes from coast to coast. This is a vision that can harness our soil, our sun, our wind, and most importantly, our people to produce good, high-paying jobs in every corner of the state. I’m excited to continue to prove to South Dakotans why I will be a strong voice for them in the U.S. House,” said Hawks.

Paid for Hawks for U.S. House
Hawks for U.S. House
PO Box 2848
Sioux Falls SD 57101 United States

No Debate Because There’s No Explanation for Noem’s Ag Record

Sioux Falls, SD July 18, 2016 U.S. House candidate Paula Hawks issued the following statement Monday regarding her opponent’s refusal to participate in the annual Dakotafest Debate hosted in Mitchell, SD.

“It’s disappointing but not surprising that Kristi Noem will not answer questions from an audience with a strong agricultural background about leaving the House Ag Committee. There’s no debate because there’s no good explanation for leaving South Dakota’s number one industry without a strong voice. We’re already seeing the negative effects with the repeal of Country of Origin Labeling and low CRP numbers. When I get to Congress, I’m going to make sure my priorities match South Dakota’s. I don’t care if it’s glamorous or good Washington politics, I will demand a seat on the Ag Committee and will make sure we have a strong voice for South Dakota agriculture.”