Election 2018

Women for The Future of Pittsburgh: These 4 local leaders just created a new PAC

They’ll start supporting candidates in the spring 2018 primary.

Ashleigh Deemer, Marita Garrett, Natalia Rudiak and Chelsa Wagner

Ashleigh Deemer, Marita Garrett, Natalia Rudiak and Chelsa Wagner

Incline Photos | Allegheny County Controller's Office / Flickr
MJ Slaby

Four women leaders in the Pittsburgh-area today announced a new political action committee focused on female candidates.

Women for The Future of Pittsburgh was founded by Ashleigh Deemer, former city council candidate; Marita Garrett, mayor-elect of Wilkinsburg; Natalia Rudiak, outgoing Pittsburgh City Council member and Chelsa Wagner, Allegheny County Controller and former State Representative.

The new PAC seeks to “disrupt the crippling political inertia in Western Pennsylvania” and close the gender gap by raising money for and providing funds to female candidates, per a press release. The PAC also wants to “improve the quality of life for all in our region through bold and thoughtful leadership.”

Women for The Future of Pittsburgh will start providing financial support to female candidates starting with the spring 2018 primary.

“Most people say they want more women in public office, but few people actively support and donate to candidates,” Deemer said. “Sad but true — money is a critical piece of winning elections, and we must have a sustainable local fundraising effort if we want women at the leadership table.”

The group cited a review by the Representation 2020 Project, a national organization aiding female political candidates, stating that Pennsylvania was one of four states to get a “F” ranking in female political representation. Currently, there are no women in the Pa. congressional delegation, and there has never been a female senator or governor.

In Allegheny County, Pa. Rep. Anita Astorino Kulik is the only women of the 28-member Harrisburg delegation. Once Pittsburgh City Council members elected Tuesday are sworn in, the nine-member council will have three women.

“Allegheny County is really bad on women’s representation,” Jennie Sweet-Cushman, assistant director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University previously told The Incline.

Sweet-Cushman pointed to incumbency and the money that comes with it, as well as recruiting.

The new PAC was announced on the anniversary of the 2016 presidential election and the day after the 2017 municipal election where multiple women, including Garrett, won local races. An official launch event will be Dec. 11 at woman-owned Dinette Restaurant in East Liberty.