Center for Politics and the People to address women in politics March 21

“Women in Politics,” a panel discussion, will be held March 21 at Ripon College. The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Kresge Little Theatre, East Hall, and is sponsored by The Center for Politics and the People.

The 2016 election marked a glass-shattering victory for women everywhere, but reaching this milestone took decades of overcoming obstacles and resistance. Three women involved in the political sphere will share their thoughts on challenges women running for office frequently face.

They will discuss the current state of affairs for women in politics as well as what they see as hopeful signs for the future. Panelists also will offer advice that all people — particularly women — can take with them to use in their lives and leadership roles in politics.

  • Gail Gitcho, a 2001 graduate of Ripon College, is a political consultant and communication strategist with more than 16 years’ experience in both government and campaigns. She has served clients on all levels of political campaigns from local races all the way up to presidential campaigns, and has served as communications director on four presidential campaigns. She also worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for the late U.S. Congressman Clay Shaw (FL-22) from 2004 to 2007.

    Gitcho specializes in managing large organizations, both partisan and nonpartisan, creating campaign and communication strategy, and managing crisis communications solutions.

  • Joan Ballweg is the Wisconsin state representative for the 41st Assembly District in southcentral Wisconsin. She currently is co-chair of the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules and vice chair of the Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform. She also is a member of the following committees: Mental Health, Children and Families, Rules, Jobs and the Economy, International Affairs and Commerce, Tourism, Joint Legislative Council, Colleges and Universities, and the Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care.

    Recently, Ballweg was re-appointed as a commissioner to the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.

  • Erin E. Forrest is the executive director of Emerge Wisconsin, an organization dedicated to inspiring Democratic women to run for office and teaching them the skills they need to win. Before joining Emerge, Forrest served on the Waterloo City Council, as chair of the Democratic Party of Jefferson County and chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s County Chairs’ Association. She lives in Waterloo.

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