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Grassroots Group Wants More Women On Jacksonville City Council

Patrick Donges

PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff was in Jacksonville Monday morning for the start of a new initiative called "9 in 15."

The name is a look ahead to the 2015 election. Because of term limits, nine city council seats will open up at that time. Members of "9 in 15" hope to see women elected to some of those seats.

There are currently 3 women on the 19 person board.

Woodruff said one reason women don’t win elections is that many don’t choose to run for political office. She added that one of the main reasons they don't take that step is that no one asks them or encourages them to run.

“Oftentimes people think, ‘well let’s go to this guy or that guy’  when there might be a perfectly well qualified woman and they may not go to her and say ‘have you thought about running?'," she said.

One of the organizers of today’s event, Carol Thompson, said the “9 in 15” effort will work to recruit candidates and identify resources to support them.

According to Thompson, it’s not just about the makeup of the city council reflecting the population of the city — it’s also about what women bring to the table.
"We believe that women bring value to the conversation," she said.

"Women typically — and research shows us — women are consensus builders, they are less focused on partisan politics and they are focused more on win-win outcomes."
Because "9 in 15" is not a formal organization, they don’t plan to endorse specific candidates.

You can follow Karen Feagins on Twitter @karenfeagins.

Karen found her home in public broadcasting after working for several years as a commercial television reporter. She joinedWJCTin 2005 as the host of 89.9 FM’s Morning Edition and has held many different roles at the station in both radio and television. She has written and produced documentaries includingBeluthahatchee: The Legacy of Stetson Kennedy and Jacksonville Beach: Against the Tide and directed the oral history project, Voices of the First Coast.