HomeLearning CenterEmily’s List Launches Madam Mayor Program to Support Local Women Leaders

Emily’s List Launches Madam Mayor Program to Support Local Women Leaders

Originally published by Grace Panetta for The 19th

Emily’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, is launching a new initiative, Madam Mayor, to elevate, champion and establish resources for woman mayors. 

“The battle for reproductive freedom and our very democracy is playing out on a local level every single day — and these women stand at the frontlines, working to make their communities a better place and standing up to Republican extremism in the face of a relentless onslaught against our freedoms,” Emily’s List President Laphonza Butler said in a statement. 

Emily’s List, founded in 1985, has endorsed women in mayoral races for over 30 years. The organization said it launched the Madam Mayor initiative in part because of the rise in misinformation (incorrect information shared unintentionally) and disinformation (incorrect information shared intentionally) that is targeting political candidates and shaping the political environment.

Misinformation and disinformation, the group said, are particularly harmful to women candidates and candidates of color and can have a “chilling effect on recruitment.” Women candidates have contended with a rise in harassment and threatsfueled by online vitriol, in recent years. 

As of March, 26 percent of mayors and officials performing mayoral duties in cities with populations of over 30,000 were women, according to the Center for Women and American Politics at Rutgers University. Of the 32 women serving as mayors of the 100 most populous U.S. cities, eight are Black women.

But the past few years especially have posed numerous, unprecedented challenges for mayors, from the COVID-19 pandemic to uprisings and unrest in many major cities in the summer of 2020 over police killings of Black Americans.

Emily’s List said it hopes the Madam Mayor program will “serve as a critical touchpoint” for woman mayors to receive support and resources in combating the myriad challenges currently facing local officials.

Emily’s List also issued a slate of new endorsements along with the launch of the Madam Mayor program. The group endorsed London Breed, mayor of San Francisco; Kate Gallego, mayor of Phoenix; Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Erin Mendenhall, mayor of Salt Lake City; Lauren McLean, mayor of Boise, Idaho; and Vi Lyles, mayor of Charlotte, N.C., on Monday. 

The group had previously endorsed eight candidates for mayor and local executive office in the 2023-2024 election cycle, including Donna Deegan, who flipped control of the mayor’s office in Jacksonville, Fla., from Republican to Democratic, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a candidate for mayor of Houston. 

“I’m incredibly proud to have the endorsement and support of Emily’s List, and to be one of the first mayors to be endorsed as part of their Madam Mayor program,” Breed, a Democrat, said in a statement. “No organization is more supportive of women running for office, their impact is seen and felt across our nation.”

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