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Yesterday I attended a fundraising luncheon for my county Democratic Party. The theme of the event was “Women Who Make a Difference,” and we heard speeches from three amazing women. Historian and author Doris Weatherford spoke about the often untold contributions of women throughout U.S. history, including Martha Washington, who traveled with and helped provision her husband’s army throughout much of the War of Independence including the bitter winter at Valley Forge. She also shared the life story of Ruth Bryan Owen, the first woman representative in Congress from a Southern state, and the woman for whom Ruth’s List is named. Dr. Weatherford described the history of the women’s movement in the U.S. as a mountain range, climbing ever higher despite the valleys where we seem to lose ground.

Young Democratic organizer Shannon Love spoke on the challenges of engaging young people in politics, and how she approaches that by explaining how the problems they discuss often involve government policy decisions and require political solutions.

Our keynote speaker was former Rep. Patricia Schroeder from Colorado, who was an energetic and effective advocate for women’s issues throughout her 28 years in the U.S. House. She talked about visiting a suffragettes’ home when she first arrived in D.C. The suffragettes bought the house because respectable women were not allowed to stay in the city’s hotels. Representative Schroeder also talked about the very real Republican War on Women, why women’s issues are core human rights issues, and the importance of registering and encouraging women to vote.

I was honored to meet our inspiring speakers, proud of the organizational efforts of our fundraising committee, and excited by the energetic support of our county Democrats. We’re working hard not only to reelect President Obama and Sen. Bill Nelson, but also to elect Democrats to the U.S. House, our state legislature, and county offices. I’m looking forward to our Democratic caucus next Saturday, and our state convention in June!