Men outnumber women in the Texas Legislature by more than two to one — and Annie’s List is trying to change that.
Annie’s List works to recruit, train and elect progressive women in Texas, not just at the Capitol, but at all levels of state and local government.
The organization turns 20 years old this month, and in that time, they’ve raised $20 million and helped candidates win over 160 races, according to their website.
Ana Ramón, the executive director of Annie’s List, said their mission is for women’s power to be reflected in the halls of power.
“There’s nothing more important to us than reflective democracy,” she said. “And with women in particular holding so much power in the electoral space in Texas, making sure that that is reflected is something that Annie’s List has been focused on for the last 20 years.”
Ramón said that Annie’s List is a statewide PAC and can focus on any race in Texas.
“We get to help anyone from council on up, including statewide offices. We were honored to be a part of some statewide efforts in 2022,” she said. “But our training efforts actually go all the way down when you’re talking about building the pipeline, building the next generation of candidates. We want to be a part of that journey. So we get to do everything from school board all the way to attorney general.”
Ramón said the reason the organization focuses on progressive women is, in part, because one of their main priorities is health care access, including abortion.
“We have seen it time and time again, the priorities for women in Texas and for Texans in general, are having access to health care, having safety in schools, making sure our schools are funded,” she said.
“Our mission is making sure that people have access and control over their body and autonomy in Texas, which unfortunately has been stripped from us not only starting in Texas, but now nationally. Having that fight and making sure that those women who are willing to step into the arena are fully funded and ready to go, that is something that is core to the work of these lists.”
Annie’s List offers training for folks who are interested in running for office.
“We are actually starting the first pipeline table in Texas, which has consisted of over 30 in-person trainings in Texas this year alone, with over 150 people trained. And this is men and women. Everyone is welcome,” Ramón said. “If you want to come and get an education on what it means to start a finance program all the way to field, that’s what we’re here for, because we don’t want to be another barrier for anyone looking to run for office.
We’re really excited to not only begin that work — and do that regionally in some of the fastest growing parts of Texas, but at our core where we have wonderful growth and opportunity and electing more Texas women up and down the ballot.”
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Ramón said that in the last two decades since Annie’s List was founded, more women have started to run for office — and win.
“Women in particular, looking at the Texas Legislature right now, are holding the floor against some of the most egregious pieces of legislation: immigration issues, abortion issues, etc. You have these women who are not only being elected to run, they’re being elected to lead and it has been really phenomenal to be a part of that,” she said. “Texas needs more women in office because they need to be reflected in the leadership of the general population…
I can’t tell you how excited people are. I know it can feel real, real down and dreary in the pink dome in the Legislature, but what we’re seeing is a new generation of women in the top ten races for 2024. We’re actually seeing almost the majority having young women, especially women of color, stepping up and saying, ‘it’s my time’ and we really want to be a part of that journey and with them on the road to 2024.”