Elizabeth Tulasi: Empowering Women to Run for Office
Elizabeth Tulasi brings 15 years of political and non-profit management experience to her Board role for California Women's List, a political action committee that supports Democratic women running for state office in California. She started her career as a Capitol Hill staffer in Washington DC. Upon returning to California, Elizabeth worked at a Food Bank, advocating to make healthy food more accessible and other programs that serve families living in poverty. Most recently she managed issue campaigns at California's largest business advocacy alliance as COO.
Here’s an excerpt from our interview with Elizabeth.
What are you most passionate about?
Elizabeth: I'm most passionate about, I think finding the truth and everybody recognizing what is the truth and what is real. And I think that if people have information and people recognize what's going on, then we can all make better decisions. I think a lot of things in our economy and our society and our political processes are hidden and office gated often on purpose. So if those things come to light and people have that information, then we can all make better choices that I think are better for everyone better for our clinic.
Passionistas: How does that relate to the activism that you do?
Elizabeth: Well, I think a lot of people don't know what decisions are made at all various levels of government. I think a lot of people don't even know what the various levels of government are.
The presidential campaigns take up a lot of space in people's minds and they are of course, very important, but the decisions that affect your and my everyday life are usually made much closer to home. And we also have more control over those things. So, you know, thinking about schools, if we want good schools in our communities, those decisions are made by local school boards. The funding that schools have are determined because of state and local taxes that are also determined by state and local representatives. If you have good parks in your neighborhood or in your state, those again are determined by local and state elected officials. So a lot of power resides much closer to wherever you live. And I really want people to know about that and to insert their voices into those conversations. You know, Nancy and I were talking just a minute ago about the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and she has so many quotable nuggets of wisdom. But I think that I think a lot about is one where she said women belong in all places where decisions are being made and decisions are being made all around us. And we need to know what decisions those are, who's making them. And how do we be part of that?
Passionistas: Tell us about the California Women's List and what they do and what you do for them.
Elizabeth: California Women's List is a political action committee. So we raise money for and support democratic women running for office here in California. And we're very focused on state level offices. So the state legislature, and also there's a lot of constitutional offices. So think about things like the treasurer, the controller, the secretary of state, the governor, those kinds of directly elected positions. We are a fully volunteer run board and organization. So I'm the external relations chair. And I help to create partnerships with other organizations and to work on a lot of our kind of more public facing campaigns right now, for example, we are starting selling merchandise that sends electrical women. And so if you go to California, when plus.org, you can shop our store and buy cool merch that is professionally designed by an awesome graphic designer that we have on our board. I mean, it's unique and very different from a lot of the other kind of political t-shirts that I've seen around there and hats and whatnot. So, you know, we had to get that store up and running. So that was a project I worked on. Passionistas: What is California Women's List most focused on as we get into crunch time leading up to the election? Elizabeth: We have endorsed 24 candidates for state office this cycle. So we are very focused on raising money for them and giving it to them right away so that they can spend that on mail on the technology that they need to, you know, transition and have transitioned from a lot of door knocking and in person events to now everything is digital. So those digital tools cost money, some cases, depending on their market, they might be doing radio or TV ads. So they need money for all of that kind of thing. Also in California, especially important for women running for office in California is now finally you can use campaign funds to pay for childcare. There are only 17 States that allow candidates to pay for childcare campaign funds and California just became one of those States last year. So if there are, you know, some, a lot of our candidates are moms and childcare is really important to make sure that more women who have kids are able to run for office and be successful. To learn more about California Women's List visit their website. Here Elizabeth’s full interview here.