Linda Griego and Wendy Greuel, former candidates for Los Angeles mayor, had this advice for women attending a training session Saturday on running for political office: Raise plenty of money, because you're going to need it.
"Ask for money.... Don't take no for an answer," Griego, a businesswoman who ran in the mayoral primary in 1993, told a workshop organized by EMILY's List, a group that helps Democratic, pro-choice women seek elected office.
"The most important thing is raising money," said Wendy Greuel, a former city controller and councilwoman who lost last year's hard-fought race to then-Councilman Eric Garcetti.
About three dozen women attended the daylong seminar at the Westiin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. It was a diverse group--in ethnicity, age and political experience.
About half the women attending already hold political office or are actively campaigning for one. They included Eloise Gomez Reyes, one of several Democrats hoping to unseat Rep. Gary Miller (R-Rancho Cucamonga) in what is expected to be one of the state's toughest congressional races next year.
Reyes said her getting backing from EMILY's List recently "was a big deal!"
The other half of the group consisted of women just testing the political waters with the possibility of becoming a candidate some day.
"I'm exploring my opportunities," an attorney told the group. Organizers allowed attendees to decide whether they wanted to be identified by reporters who were invited to one of the day's sessions. Some said no, but others, mostly those who are running for office, embraced the opportunity for some exposure.
EMILY's List was founded nearly three decades ago to help its candidates raise campaign funds. (EMILY stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast, because its helps raise dough.) It provides other help as well, including training in how to run for office.
Muthoni Wambu Kraal, who runs the organization's Political Opportunity Program for the wetsern region, offered pointers to the women attending Saturday's seminar. Among them: Know the election laws, find out what was spent in the last campaign for the office, assemble a "kitchen cabinet" of advisors and, for those just starting out, volunteer in someone else's campaign to build contacts and gain experience.
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