JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Democratic Party is targeting women voters in their campaign for the 2004 election.
In an attempt to make politics more accessible for women, the party began hosting Women's Coalitions across the state last year to harness the political activism Missouri women showed in support of Jean Carnahan's bid for the senate. They also hired a Women's Outreach director.
"Women play a huge role in electing a candidate because they will organize, inform, and mobilize campaign efforts for the party," said May Scheve, chair of the Missouri Democratic Party."Even with Jean Carnahan's loss, we couldn't lose the enthusiasm and excitement of Democrat female voters."
In recent elections female voter turnout rates have equaled or exceeded those of men. In the 2000 presidential election, 59.3 million women reported voting compared to 51.5 million men. Fifty-four percent of those women voted for Democratic candidate Al Gore, according to the Center for American Women and Politics' web site.
Coalitions have been formed in Joplin, Columbia, and St. Louis and are designed to serve as a forum for women to talk about the issues that mean the most to them such as jobs, health care, education and the economy, Scheve said.
"Women are concerned about the economy and how it affects everyone's family whether through income or through lack of funding through education," Scheve said.
The coalitions also bring in speakers from both national and statewide political arena. In November, the state's first lady, Lori Holden spoke to the St. Louis coalition about issues facing the state and what women can do about them.
Women wanting to start a Women's Coalition group can contact Stacey Newman at (573)636-5241 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.