What is WUFF PAC?
Florida needs a Political Action Committee to support women candidates for federal office (Congress, Senate, President) who support family first policies. There are a lot of PACs that focus on one candidate or one policy (pro-choice or pro-life). We’re all talking past each other, and we’re never going to convince one another. But perhaps a comprehensive approach to the challenges the pandemic has laid bare can help us move forward. WUFF PAC is non-partisan, an issues-based political action committee working on solutions proven to work elsewhere for the advancement of women and girls.
Florida’s leadership, overwhelmingly men, is broken, plain and simple. Our State legislature went home in February 2020, and, by a straight party-line vote, refused to return to Tallahassee to address the pandemic, our intentionally dysfunctional unemployment system, the financial crisis, systemic racism or any of the myriad issues that face Floridians. They hid in their man-caves and left everything in the lap of inept State Constitutional officers who followed Federal elected officials off a dangerous cliff, with predictable results. Not one member of our Republican Congressional Delegation called them out for this. When they returned to Tallahassee after the 2020 election, the leadership announced that the pandemic was not a problem for them to solve. Eleven of Florida’s Congressional Delegation signed on to an Amicus Brief designed to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. Those eleven plus two voted to overturn the results of the election AFTER Congress had come under assault. The 13 members of the “Florida Kracken Caucus” will be a primary target of our efforts to re-balance our Congressional Delegation. Also of note, Senator Marco Rubio who jumped the line to be vaccinated 48 hours before attacking Dr. Fauci in one of his rare non-biblical tweets, is up for re-election in 2022.
Why This Approach?
The endorsement and support work of WUFF PAC will build on the work of the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance (FWFA) which has been, since 2016, pushing out evidence-based research into the policies and practices that positively impact the lives of women and girls in our state. Women sometimes shy away from “politics”, but they are generally happy to talk about policy, especially policy that puts families first. You can access all the research here.
The 2018 and 2020 Florida election returns suggest this is a winning approach. The supermajority of Floridians who voted to raise the minimum wage in 2020 was within a point of the percentage who voted two years ago to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals. Yet so many of those voters also opted, twice, for legislators who didn’t and never will support any of that, many of whom will actively undermine those initiatives. We have to connect policy to candidacy, so that the policies Floridians support can come from their elected officials rather than super expensive ballot initiatives.
We intend to endorse and support women candidates for federal office who will propose and support policies that are supported by our research. Some examples: paid family medical leave, a living wage, Medicaid expansion, addressing the gender pay gap, which, like most harmful phenomena, disproportionality impacts women of color. We may endorse men in races where there is not a qualified woman, but because sources of funds are historically so much more available to men, we will shepherd our resources to keep them available for qualified women candidates.
To quote Elizabeth Warren, we need “Big Structural Change” in Florida. As WUFF PAC Founder Paula Liang frequently says, “If this was easy, the men would have figured it out a long time ago.”
The plain fact is women lead in a different, more collaborative and connected way. Here’s one example: in late January of 2017, there was a “snowstorm” in Washington D.C., which meant that there were a couple of inches of snow on the street. Every woman in the Senate showed up the next day to work, but not one of the men did. No one called off the session—the men just collectively figured it was too hard. The women, across the aisle, mounted their magic broomsticks and appeared on the Senate Floor. That’s the kind of attitude we need in our Florida Delegation. Research conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Northeast Florida found that women enter politics to solve a problem, rather than to create a career. It’s that problem-solving mindset we need lots more of.
What Can WUFF PAC Support?
WUFF PAC was established as the type of Section 527 Organization that can give a Federal candidate up to $5000 per election cycle (primary/general/run-off), and can also donate $5000 to a candidate’s Victory Fund, Leadership Fund and PAC. Our hope is to have panels of donors in each Congressional District to decide on endorsements and funding levels. Should we have women candidates for the Senate seat that is up in 2022, we will convene a state-wide panel to interview them.
We can also fund necessary research and research updates on issues of importance to the women and children of Florida. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which has conducted much of the baseline research that undergirds our policy agenda has prepared a proposal for a White Paper on Reproductive Justice in Florida, and we have asked for another on the Effects of Systemic Racism on the Children of Florida. WUFF PAC will begin fundraising immediately following the Inauguration to enable the research to go forward.
The PAC can also fund campaign infrastructure, things like trainings for candidates and potential candidates, and convenings for funders and candidates.
Who Can Support WUFF PAC, and How?
Any individual can donate up to $5000 per calendar year, either at one time or through recurring donations. All donations are reported to the Federal Elections Commission, though donations under $200 are typically aggregated. Please see our donations page for more information.