Being a woman in politics is a tough gig. No matter what side of the political divide, what office you’re seeking, what your background, you’re going to get hammered in ways men never have to worry about (cf: Hillary Clinton). Sexism in politics is rampant, disgusting, and destructive.
So is ageism. And we’re seeing that in play in the 2016 Portland mayoral primary.
The leading woman candidate is Sarah Iannarone. Her bio is a strong one: single-mom, started her own business, a leader in a program at PSU that allows her a wide range of international contacts, relentless volunteer, full-time bicyclist. This is a background that makes for a good politician, especially in Portland. Varied, full of struggle, full of opportunities taken.
As a result, even though few Portland voters know of her and she has no chance of becoming Portland’s next mayor, she’s earned a lot of respect and support. She says a lot of things progressive leaders need to say, and she says them with the conviction and detail that lets you know this comes from a strong combination of heart and brains. Many progressive activists in Portland are supporting her, especially younger ones and those with a dislike for the political establishment (and rich white men).
Fortunately for Iannarone, she’s young enough and not-rich enough that these younger activists are willing to give her a fair chance. Four years ago, the same people had a woman candidate with an even stronger background but never gave her the fair chance they are giving Iannarone.
I’m talking about Eileen Brady, of course. I worked on her campaign and got to know her quite well. She and her family made me a friend, and I learned what wonderful people they are. I...