Now, more than ever, it’s time for women to run our country – at the local, state, and federal levels.
I truly believe that once women are in charge or hold at least half of all leadership positions in government (and all other organizations), things will get appreciably better!
The only good thing about Trump et al. is the fervor they’ve engendered with the communities they seek to oppress. Women, in particular, are unwilling to accept administration’s viewpoint on women – be it Pence’s proclivity for “impure thoughts” unless his wife is by his side, or Trump’s pussy grabbing, objectification of women, something big has got to give . . . that something is the mobilization of outraged women everywhere – including San Diego – to get into government and to govern from their broader and more nuanced perspectives – not needing to drop bombs and talk big to show their strength.
Case in point . . . Jennifer Zordani is a lawyer from Chicago with whom I used to work. She recently posted on Facebook that she plans to run for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District representing the people who live in the suburbs west of Chicago. I was pleased and surprised to read her post because I think she’s a talented person, but I never knew her to be particularly political.
She agreed to be interviewed for this blog post and we spent an hour on the phone the other day, giving me the opportunity to ask her how she made the decision to run and how she feels about issues that might be of concern.
First, her decision . . .I was surprised that it had more directly to do with Peter Roskam, her congressional rep, and only indirectly Trump. Roskam’s policies are at odds with hers and with the community’s. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Trump’s “pussy-grabbing” tape came out and Roskam failed to speak up and call out Trump for his misogynistic behavior. His lack of leadership overall and this incident in particular, led Jennifer to conclude that Roskam does not have what it takes to represent her district. She decided that she could do much better. (I have no doubt she can).
Although she has always been civically engaged, particularly with volunteering in schools and tutoring in her community, Jennifer has been attentive to but never personally involved in politics. After the November election she and others in her community who were disturbed by the administration began to “huddle” and discuss what they could do. The encouragement and support she experienced in these meetings eventually helped her to decide to become personally involved in federal politics – hoping to represent the people of Chicago’s western suburbs.
Standing almost 6 feet tall, this 53-year-old single woman with shoulder length auburn hair, a warm and authentic smile, smarts, and hutzpah has an easy way about her as she discusses her background. After graduating from the University of Chicago as an undergrad, she decided that, like her father, she wanted to work at the Board of Trade, notwithstanding his telling her it was “no place for a woman”. Undaunted, she persisted and her father introduced her to another woman who worked at the Board and this experienced trader took Jennifer under her wing and successfully mentored her in this virtually all male environment.
Later when she became a lawyer, Jennifer had the good fortune to work for a brilliant but demanding attorney who taught her how to be effective representing clients in the financial services industry and who treated her the same as he treated male lawyers. Additionally, Jennifer credits the second wave feminists for paving the way for her success in business and law. She considers herself a feminist in that she believes all individuals (men, women, people of color, and LBGTQ people) should have equal opportunities.
I asked her if she has “thick skin” and if she is willing to “dial for dollars”. As for the first, she thinks her skin is thick enough and she vows never to “stoop to conquer”. She will criticize positions but will not make personal attacks. She will try to not take things personally.
As for asking for money, Jennifer says she will remember the advice an elderly woman gave her when handing over a large check, “thanks for doing the hard work, giving you a check is the easy part”. Knowing that most folks want to do something, but for a variety of reasons choose not to run, donating in response to “dialing for dollars” gives them the opportunity to help the greater good.
Although she is single, like many others she has family obligations. Jennifer and her sister share the work involved in caring for her mother, who suffers from dementia. The Zordani sisters, their mother and Jennifer’s sister’s children all live together in Clarendon Hills, Illinois.
The motives that guide her are fairness, equality, and opportunity and in her own words,
“I want to represent my district using my legal skills, my integrity and my social values. My district demands that its representative provide opportunities for economic growth to individuals and businesses and I value these goals.”
I hope Jennifer’s story will serve to motivate many local women to attend Run Women Run’s upcoming Boot Camp (details forthcoming) and to run for office. Each woman added to the mix will help make this world a better place!
About the Author
ANNE M. HAULE – Anne is a writer, activist and adventurer who moved to San Diego 8 years ago to be near her daughter after retiring from her law practice in Chicago. Anne is the Volunteer Attorney Coordinator for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. She also lobbies for for NARAL and the ACLU.
Her writing is published in the San Diego Free Press, the Women’s Museum of California, The Reader, and the Uptown News. She also authors a blog called “Musings of a Boomer Feminist” which can be found at Boomerfeminist.com. When she’s not engaged in her writing or activism, she enjoys traveling for adventure and for culture. Anne’s recent travels included trips to the Copper Canyon in Mexico, the Channel Islands, Italy and a home exchange in Sweden. Anne is the proud mother of Kath Rogers, who is also an activist lawyer, and the proud grandmother of Annie, an Australian Shepherd rescue dog.