Rachel Sutz Pienta, Candidate for 2nd Vice President
My name is Rachel Sutz Pienta and I am running for 2nd Vice President in the upcoming Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, Inc. election.
My history with the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, Inc.
I attended my first Democratic Women’s Club event in 2006 when I was invited to celebrate Mildred Hall’s recognition as a Golden Democrat by the Capital City Democratic Women’s Club. In late 2009, I was asked to become more involved in the leadership of the organization and served as co-chair of the 2010 Golden Democrat Luncheon. That same year, I also took steps to found the Wakulla Democratic Women’s Club. We were chartered in July 2010 and I served as the first president of the club.
In the years since, I helped to revive the dormant Tally Days event. In 2011, I was asked to serve as the DWCF Communications Chair. In this role, I was able to break new ground and raise the visibility of the organization across the state.
During the 2012 electoral cycle, I represented DWCF at numerous events across the state. I spoke on radio shows and at rallies. My press releases generated positive earned media for DWCF across the state.
In 2013, I coordinated our second annual Tally Days media event. Our President Janet Goen was able to stand alongside Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant and legislative leaders during a press conference that garnered television, print, and radio coverage. Working closely with FDP staff, I was able to craft aligned messages for both President Goen and Chairwoman Tant and consequently maximized positive exposure for DWCF throughout the state.
My work on behalf of DWCF has led to our increased visibility with FDP, with the DCCC, and with members of the media across the state.
Over the last two years, I have also worked closely with the CCE. This year, I have been working closely with a CCE transition team to position DWCF to hit the ground running under the new laws governing political committees and electoral fundraising.
Why am I running for 2nd Vice President?
Membership is the life blood of our organization. Every county in Florida should have a chartered Democratic Women’s Club. The women’s caucus in the Florida Democratic Party should be the largest caucus in the party. DWCF has the potential to be the largest and most powerful political organization for women.
In my professional life, I worked as a Women’s Studies professor from 1999 to 2012. I have also published and presented on issues of concern to women since the mid 1990s. The following titles represent samples of my professional work:
Author. (May 2013). “Florida”. Chapter in Sociology of Education, Jame Ainsworth, Editor. Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.
Author. (August 2013). Taking Sides: Women’s Studies. McGraw Hill.
Author. (2012). “Power and Conflict over Women’s Reproductive Health”. Medical Sociology Reader. Cognella Press.
Co-Author. (2012). “Women on the Margins: The Politics of Gender in the Language and Context of Science Textbooks”. Hickman and Porfilio, Editors. The New Politics of the Textbook: Problematizing the Portrayal of Marginalized Groups in Textbooks. Sense Publishers.
Author. (2011). Chapters on “Million Mom March” and “The Mothers’ Movement Online”, Ed., Andrea O’Reilly, You Say You Want a Revolution: The Motherhood Movement of the 21st Century, 2011, Demeter Press.
I share this sample of my professional work with you to illustrate that working for the advancement of women is part of my daily life.
My passion for bringing women together began in my collegiate years at the University of Florida. I became a member of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and would later serve as the Vice President of Housing.
As an adult, my belief that women working together can achieve powerful goals led me to serve as an officer in my local chapter of the American Association of University Women. I also was one of 100 women who came together to found the Oasis Center for Women and Girls in Tallahassee.
My experience in bringing women together to work on big ideas and achieve audacious goals will be put to use helping the Democratic Women's Club of Florida, Inc. to become not only the premiere organization working to elect Democratic women in Florida but will also position our organization to be a key part of Democratic infrastructure across the state.
My work as a committed Democrat and community activist
I was re-elected to serve as chair and state committee woman in 2012 by the members of the Wakulla Democratic Executive Committee. This will be mysecond term serving the Wakulla Democratic Party in a dual capacity. I am also the former president and founding member of the Wakulla Democratic Women’s Club.
I first became involved in Democratic politics as a student at the University of Florida. I was part of a team of College Democrats who worked statewide to elect President Bill Clinton. Following the 1992 election, I worked as a district intern for then-Democratic state senator Kirkpatrick and then worked on campaigns to elect Congresswoman Karen Thurman and Governor Lawton Chiles.
Later, I went to Washington to intern in Karen Thurman’s Congressional office. When I moved to Tallahassee for graduate school, I was awarded a paid legislative internship to work as a legislative policy analyst for the Florida House of Representatives on Education K-12. After my internship year, I continued to work on public policy and political campaigns.
In 2011, I helped to found a new caucus in the Florida Democratic Party - the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida and I currently serve on the caucus Board of Directors (http://www.progressivedemcaucusfl.org/). In 2012, I was selected to chair and host the Florida Democratic Party’s Small County Coalition Conference in Wakulla County. I currently serve as the Secretary for the Small County Coalition.
Over the past three years, I have also served on two statewide Democratic Party committees – serving on the team of authors who wrote the Florida Democratic Party’s state platform and serving on the team that developed an endorsement and slating procedure for statewide candidates. I currently serve on the FDP Campaign Committee.
I also served on the North Florida Finance committee for the Obama Campaign under the leadership of Allison Tant Richard.
I tweet as @wakullawriter and have been recognized as one of the "Top Political Tweeters" in Florida by Peter Schorsch of the SaintPetersBlog.
In 2011, I was honored by the Tallahassee Democrat as one of "25 Women You Need to Know". In 2012, the Tallahassee Network of Young Professionals honored me as a "Golden A.C.E." in Higher Education for my "authentic community engagement".
My record of working with women to benefit women
Member, Board of Directors, PACE Center for Girls Tallahassee, 2011 - Current
Steering Committee Member, League of Women Voters of Florida, 2011- 2013
Founding Member, Oasis Center for Women Girls, Tallahassee, Florida, 2010 – current.
Victim Advocate, Refuge House, Tallahassee, Florida 1999- 2005.