Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona List

Q: Why is Arizona List important?
A: Arizona List is necessary because we want to get more talented, qualified women elected to office. Electing a critical mass of women to public office will be a powerful tool in creating social change. And Arizona List is the only organization in the state with this mission as its sole focus. We are here – year in and year out – during big election years and during the off season – recruiting and preparing progressive women to run and win in Arizona.

Q: Does having women in elected office really change anything?
A: Women bring distinctive perspectives and priorities to leadership. Research confirms that both Republican and Democratic women are more likely than their male counterparts to initiate and fight for legislation to champion social justice, protect the environment, advocate for families and promote nonviolent conflict resolution. (1)

Q: Why does Arizona List endorse only women candidates?
A: Many Arizona List members are men. And, as individuals, we have all worked hard for and supported progressive men running for public office. There are some great men in office right now and strong male candidates to support in every election.

But this fact remains: 84% of our elected leaders are men.

Research shows that most women simply don’t have the resources available to men. (See “Why do women need our help?” below.) Arizona List was founded to provide training, coaching and support that progressive women candidates just won’t find anywhere else.

Also, we know that having more women in public office will help move progressive values forward in our state and across the country. When a critical mass of women is present — whether in a neighborhood meeting, a corporate boardroom or a senate committee — the discussion at the table changes. (1) According to the research done by Emily’s List:

  • Democratic women have an average 92.5 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters for 2007; Democratic men, 79.6 percent.
  • The Service Employees International Union 2006 scorecard gives Democratic women an average 92.9 percent approval rating; Democratic men, 85.8 percent.
  • In 2006 Democratic women had a 98.8 percent average score with Planned Parenthood; Democratic men, 77.4 percent.

“These numbers tell a story,” says Ellen Malcolm of EMILY’s List. “If we want to rebuild a progressive America, we need more women in office.” (2)

Q: Why does Arizona List only endorse pro-choice women candidates?
A: We believe a woman’s right to make medical decisions regarding her body is a fundamental human right. We strongly believe that women should be able to make their own choices about important life decisions. This means safeguarding those choices and educating women about their options. We also believe women should have access to birth control, emergency contraception, comprehensive sex education, the HPV vaccine, end-of-life decisions and stem cell research. Support for safe, legal abortions has been consistent for three decades but these rights have come under brutal, partisan attack in recent years. We need pro-choice men and women at the decision-making tables in Arizona and in Washington, DC. Also, being pro-choice is usually an indication that a candidate is progressive on other issues as well.

Q: How does Arizona List decide who to endorse?
A: Our endorsement committee is a group of knowledgeable people from across the state, led by our political director. We evaluate candidate’s answers to our questionnaires and conduct interviews with candidates and with other professionals in potential candidates’ communities. We are looking for viable candidates in targeted districts who are committed to raising money, running professional campaigns and winning. We monitor their progress, offer ongoing advice and help them find volunteers.

Q: What does an Arizona List endorsement mean?
A: Arizona List is creating a network of people supporting women across the state. Our endorsement means we believe a candidate is worth supporting, either with time or money. People – including potential donors, volunteers and voters – pay attention to our endorsements in each election cycle and support our candidates. Also, endorsed candidates receive training, coaching and support from the experienced Arizona List political team. Once you’re an endorsed Arizona List candidate, you know we’ve got your back.

Q: Where does Arizona List get its money?
A: More than 98% of our money comes from individuals – women and men who believe in the mission of Arizona List and want to be part of changing the face of power in our state. We are also very thankful for the support we receive from allies, like labor unions, and partner organizations. But Arizona List exists because of our dedicated members – many of whom sacrifice to give $10 a month to support this work – and because of the generous giving from members of our Leadership Circle. Click here to decide which level of membership is right for you.

Q: Why do women need our help?
A: The challenge for women is not leadership, but overcoming voters’ initial doubts in order to win the chance to lead in the first place. (1)

Arizona List is fighting to help eliminate the four chronic roadblocks for women candidates.*

1) Double standards are still alive and well. Men are able to win voters with a combination of personality and job performance, while women must win voters in each separate category. In other words, women have to have to excel in all categories, whereas men can be “good enough” in one or the other. Men are presumed to be strong enough and tough enough for the job, but voters draw a distinction between a woman’s strength and her toughness. Women bear the burden of having to prove themselves on both.

2) Access to financial circles is still limited. Access to financial networks is still limited for female candidates. Women often start to develop these networks too late, especially among core constituencies.

3) Greater mastery of facts and figures required. Women must demonstrate more expertise than men on issues associated with toughness and finances — immigration, taxes, budgets and attracting jobs. Again, men can be just “good enough” whereas women must excel across the board.

4) Closer scrutiny of public appearance persists. Media coverage of women’s dress, hair, weight and style persists in ways rarely applied to men.

(1) Reprinted with permission from The Barbara Lee Family Foundation

(2) EMILY’s List