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DEMOCRATIC ATTORNEYS GENERAL ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES ‘1881 INITIATIVE’, A COMMITMENT TO ELECT MORE WOMEN TO THE OFFICE OF STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL

DAGA Announced Commitment to Electing Women to 50 Percent of Democratically Held State Attorney General Seats by End of 2022 with Kick-off Panel with Key Female Leaders

Co-chaired by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the 1881 Initiative Honors the History of Women Running for the Office of State Attorney General

Six Former Democratic Attorneys General Who Now Serve in the U.S. Senate Signed Letter in Support of 1881 Initiative; Letter Available Here

WASHINGTON, D. C. – The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) announced today the launch of the 1881 Initiative: a commitment to elect more women into the office of state attorney general. The initiative, co-chaired by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, sets the goal of electing women to 50 percent of the democratically held state attorney general seats by the end of 2022 and honors the history of women running for the office. The program aims to attract and support the most qualified and talented female candidates through trainings, events and serving as a resource for women considering running for the state office of attorney general.

“It’s imperative that the people’s lawyers reflect the people we serve so we are today committing to spending the time, effort and capital to attract and support the most qualified and talented women to become Attorney General all across the country,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “This DAGA effort is putting our deeds in line with our words when it comes to equal representation in office and I’m confident this effort, combined with strong recruiting and trainings, will ensure we help elect the next generation of talented women to this critical office.”

“Women are more than half the population, but hold less than a third of elected offices—in fact, only about 20% of our Democratic Attorneys General are women,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “The 1881 Initiative aims to ensure exceptional women are in the pipeline to run for state attorney general positions, other political offices, and leadership roles. Oregon has been a leader in electing women to office and it’s something I hope to see more states emulate. I often refer to my role as Oregon Attorney General as a ‘mama bear’—fighting to protect the people of Oregon and to see our most vulnerable communities taken care-of—and I believe it’s time we had more Mama Bears.”

In 1881, Marion Todd and Ada Miser Kepley, ran for state attorneys general seats in California and Illinois respectively. Despite having two women run for the office four decades before even winning the right to vote, America wouldn’t elect a woman to serve as a state attorney general until more than 100 years later. Channeling the spirit of Marion and Ada, DAGA brought together current, former and future female, Democratic attorneys general, partner organizations, and progressive leaders to launch the 1881 Initiative at DAGA’s fall policy conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

The launch event included a panel discussion on the importance of equal representation and the role of the office of state attorney general. Moderated by pollster, Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners, the panelists included Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Lucinda Guinn, Vice President of Campaigns at EMILY’s List, Valerie Berlin, Principal at BerlinRosen Public Affairs and Natalie Ludaway, Chief Deputy Attorney General for D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.

“Not only does the 1881 Initiative show how the Democratic Attorneys General continue to show leadership, but also this was the right thing to do,” said Sean Rankin, Executive Director at the Democratic Attorneys General Association. “We are committed to equal representation for women as well as across gender identity, sexual orientation, race and religion. The goal is to elect the most talented and qualified people to serve the people of the United States and we respect diversity and the value it brings to the office of the Attorney General.”

Former Nevada Attorney General and now U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto shared a support message for the initiative highlighting the importance of seeing more women elected and honoring former Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa (video linked here). In addition to the launch event and video, the six former Democratic state attorneys general who now serve in the United States Senate signed a letter of support of the 1881 Initiative (letter linked here).

DAGA will be announcing next steps and events for the 1881 Initiative in the next few weeks.