Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, left, and U.S. House Democratic… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
As Los Angeles faces the prospect of not having a single woman in elected office at City Hall in July, some of California’s most prominent female politicians promoted Wendy Greuel’s mayoral bid on Thursday.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the first and only woman to serve as the speaker of the House, announced she was endorsing Greuel to become the city’s first female mayor.
Greuel faces City Councilman Eric Garcetti in a runoff on May 21.
“I don’t live here, I don’t want to be presumptuous … All I can say is I love L.A.,” Pelosi said before announcing her endorsement of Greuel at at a roundtable at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s headquarters in Beverly Hills.
“She’s operational, she gets the job done," Pelosi said. "She’s inspirational, it’s going to be quite thrilling for the city when this happens. And she’s local, she’s going to be focused on what she is doing here, but her election will lift up people across our country.”
Pelosi said that having a mother with a 9-year-old child will especially resonate with women. “There’s someone, not only at the table, but at the seat at the head of the table … who understands the challenges of working families,” she said.
Pelosi appeared alongside Sen. Barbara Boxer, who first won her seat in the Senate in the 1992 “year of the woman” election, Reps. Janice Hahn and Judy Chu, and legendary former L.A. City Councilwoman Roz Wyman.
Speaking in front of large vintage pictures of protesting suffragettes, speaker after speaker returned to the fact that Los Angeles City Hall may not have a single female elected official come July, and to the historic nature of Greuel’s run.
“Now it has been 163 years since Los Angeles elected its first mayor, 163 years, not one woman mayor. Is it time to change history?” Boxer asked the assembled group of female political leaders and activists. “We could see a city government without one female in leadership. I just want to say that is totally unacceptable. I’ve never claimed women are better than men. Some women are, some aren’t. What I will say is when you have a representative democracy and you don’t have enough women and minorities in it, you’re not a representative democracy, and democracy is threatened.”
The leaders emphasized that they were not backing Greuel solely because she was a woman, but because they believed she was the most qualified candidate in the race -- who also happened to be a woman.
“Wendy is qualified, it goes without saying that she has such a breadth of experience,” Chu said. “That’s why we woman leaders have to do what we can to encourage women to commit to this race as volunteers, as voters, as donors. I tell you, if women come out and vote for Wendy Greuel, it will change the tone of this race. We will be able to make history.”
Greuel often discusses the historic nature of her bid on the campaign trail, though in pre-primary polling by the Los Angeles Times and USC, women appeared to be evenly divided between her and rival Eric Garcetti.
Greuel said she was excited and proud to have the backing of the political leaders, and said she like the other women present wanted their jobs to make Los Angeles a better place for their children and grandchildren.
“So we have a lot of work to do, and we have to remember, it’s not just today,” she said. “It’s not just electing the first woman mayor of Los Angeles. It’s understanding we have to use our voices to change people’s lives.”
Groups sue to block Wal-Mart grocery from opening in Chinatown