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The Minnesota Women's Political Caucus (MWPC) is a grassroots, multipartisan organization of members throughout the state dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected and appointed office by identifying, recruiting, training and supporting pro-choice women candidates.
MWPC seeks to be an expert resource for women in Minnesota and women candidates supporting women's issues. Our goal is equality and equal representation at all levels of government.
August of 1971 saw women gathering in cities throughout the country under the banner of the newly organized National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC). During the fall an organizing meeting for the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus (MWPC) was convened at Augsburg, recessed, and in January of 1972 over 600 women came to Central High in St. Paul to elect the first Steering Committee. Betty Freidan was the keynote speaker.
MWPC has always been a strong state Caucus, providing leadership to NWPC in the form of two Vice Presidents, two Secretaries, and several Delegates-at-Large and committee chairs. Minnesota also hosted a National Convention in 1989.
The primary purpose of MWPC parallels that of NWPC - increasing the number of elected and appointed women in office. This has been done by targeting, endorsing, contributing funds and volunteers, working to publicize women's campaigns, and encouraging members to serve on campaign committees. The screening, endorsement and funding of candidates is carried out by a separate Political Action Committee (PAC).
MWPC also lobbies on issues of concern to women, and provides a variety of programs for the purpose of informing and energizing its membership. It also pubishes a quarterly newsletter, Caucus Times. Since 1979, MWPC has maintained an office with part-time staff. It was a founding member of the Minnesota Women's Consortium, where it continues to be a political resource and supporter of Consortium activities such as its annual Women and Girls Come to the Capitol.
In 1978, the Minnesota Women's Educational Council (MWEC) was incorporated as a sister organization, with the mission of educating women on the workings of government and the political proces. The MWEC has published manuals on getting appointed to state boards and commissions, and on campaigning for elective office. It has also sponsored receptions honoring appointed women, legislative briefings, and a scholarship contest for college students writing papers on women in the political process.
MWPC and MWEC have both provided campaign training on several occasions, beginning in 1975. In 1997, both organizations recognized the need to focus on proactive recruitment of women candidates. They spearheaded the formation of a coalition with other women's organizations to Send Women to Washington (W2W), with the goal of electing Minnesota women to Federal office as a U.S. Representative or Senator. In 2000, the effort proved successful, as Betty McCollum, a MWPC endorsed candidate, was elected to Congress from Minnesota's 4th Congressional District, becoming Minnesota's second women in history to be elected to Federal office.
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