PODER PAC

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Poder Pac is a Wahington DC based Political Action committee. The PAC was launched with "400 of the nation’s most influential political leaders" at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August 2008, by Ingrid Duran and Catherine Pino, a couple, who together run D&P Creative Strategies[1].

History

Ingrid Duran and Catherine Pino established PODER PAC in 2008 to increase the number of Democratic Latina elected officials in the USA[2].

On June 7, 2008, Ingrid Duran and Catherine Pino, like many women across America, were glued to a television set as then-U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave a historic speech supporting her opponent, Barack Obama, in a thrilling and unforgettable primary election. And like most women, they weren’t focused on a “failed candidacy.” Rather, the two watched a woman who had profoundly altered and enhanced the role of women in American political life.
Duran and Pino, two of the most influential advocates for Hispanic and LGBT issues in Washington, D.C., decided that the journey for women vying for the highest levels of office shouldn’t stop with Clinton’s speech. And it didn’t. Clinton’s remarks would spark a lobbying effort of a different sort for the co-founders of D&P Creative Strategies. And it would reach deep into the Hollywood Hills, not just Capitol Hill.
Duran and Pino would form a political action committee (PAC), which, in plain terms, is a way for individuals, interest groups, unions, or corporations to contribute dollars to candidates running for public office. In other words, it can mean big money for someone running for a school board, mayoral, congressional or presidential seat. PACs are old as time, but one never existed to support Latina candidates. “They were never considered viable by mainstream organizations,” says Duran.

Mission

PODER PAC is a national effort to increase the number of Latinas elected at all levels of government[3].

Purpose

  • Highlight Democratic Latina candidates
  • Raise early money so that Latina candidates become viable contenders
  • Connect candidates with a national network of Latinas leaders[4]

According to Catherine Pino:

“Our work has enabled us to help steer millions of dollars to organizations and to support candidates that we consider viable, so creating PODER PAC was a natural extension of the work we are doing through D&P- (D&P Creative Strategies).

According to Ingrid Duran;

“We were very clear when we created the PAC that it will support Democratic, pro-choice Latinas with a demonstrated commitment to the Latino community and a viable campaign organization...In the end, we decided that it is really too difficult to be a bi-partisan PAC, so we decided not to fool ourselves and think we could be all things to all people.”

Endorsement Process

According to the PODER PAC website[5];

The endorsement process has several levels of vetting to ensure that PODER PAC is supporting viable candidates who are committed to winning by putting together a campaign plan that reflects an effective fund-raising program and a campaign organization. We will also review any additional information such as polling data, endorsements and news coverage of your race. Our candidates must also have demonstrated support for Latino issues in their community. PODER PAC has an endorsement survey that will be forwarded to interested candidates and will conduct follow-up interviews.

Initial funding

Duran and Pino tapped "current political heavyweights, and Hollywood movers and shakers" to to finance and support PODER PAC. According to Pino[6];

We called a meeting of the Latina Democratic Members of Congress at a restaurant on Capitol Hill and told them our plan and asked each of them to max out their contribution to the PAC at $5,000...We also reached out to some of our Latina celebrity friends to lend their names and support this effort. We knew we needed to come out of the gate in a big way.”

Successes

In its first year, 2008, PODER PAC supported/endorsed ten Latinas at the local and federal levels. They had five wins and most of those who didn't make it this time came within a few votes[7].

2013 Endorsed Candidates

2012 Endorsed Candidates

2010 PoderPAC Endorsed Candidates

Supporting Sonia Sotomayor

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PODER PAC Founding Board Members Ingrid Duran & Catherine Pino celebrate with Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the White House[11]

From a May 19, 2009 Poder Pac press release[12];

Washington DC - PODER PAC today officially announced its endorsement of a Latina to be named as the next Supreme Court Justice and strongly urged President Obama to choose from one of the many talented and highly qualified Latina candidates to fill this most important position.
"President Obama made history this past November when he was elected the first African American President of the United States. He was not elected because of the color of his skin but because Americans thought him the best qualified choice to lead our country during these difficult times. PODER PAC believes President Obama has a chance to make history yet again in nominating the first Latina as his choice to be the next Supreme Court justice, and to do it not because it is the right thing or the right time - even though it is both - but to do it simply because a Latina would hold the best qualifications at this moment to carry out the awesome responsibilities that come with serving on the highest court in the land.
"At no other point in history has the nomination of a Latina to be the next Supreme Court Justice been more timely. There are several Latinas that have the education, the experience, and the impeccable qualifications that are no doubt needed for this incomparable charge.
"The nomination of a Latina to the high court would also ensure that diversity, one of our nation's fundamental pillars of strength, is finally and fully expressed in a place where variety of opinion stemming from a different upbringing, a different perpective and a different, perhaps personal, view of how "the system" affects real people, has been sorely missing. There is no doubt that a qualified Latina would bring a unique and needed perspective that includes a clear understanding of the struggles that many diverse communities and women have endured in this country. Upholding this perspective and using it to understand how decisions will impact Americans will undoubtedly benefit all of American society.
"PODER PAC strongly urges President Obama to take this courageous step and nominate a Latina to serve as the next Supreme Court Justice."

Boards of Directors

Board of Directors

Ingrid Duran, Catherine Pino, Treasurer, (Duran and Pinto are founding Executive Board members), Mari Del Carmen Aponte, DC, Chair of Board Development, Bettie Baca, VA, Elmy Bermejo, CA, Chair Political Outreach, Maria Cardona, DC, Susan Gonzales, CA, Co-Chair Development, Joelle Martinez, CO, Co-Chair of Development, Lydia Madrigal, TX, Alicia Menendez, DC, Regina Montoya, TX, Maria Teresa Petersen, DC, Suzanna Valdez, FL.

Advisory Board

Patricia Campos, NJ, Ana Cruz, FL, Maria Echaveste, CA, State Representative Delia Garcia, KS, County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, TX, Former Attorney General Patricia Madrid, NM, Maria Robles Meier, CA, State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, TX, Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, AZ

Honorary Co-chairs

Rosario Dawson, NY, America Fererra, CA, Dolores Huerta, CA, Eva Longoria Parker, TX, Grace Napolitano, CA, Ana Ortiz, NY, Rosie Perez, NY, Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA, Linda Sanchez, CA, Loretta Sanchez, CA, Nydia Velazquez, NY[13]

Charter members

President's Council

Mari Del Carmen Aponte, Juana Bordas, Ingrid Duran, Grace Garcia, Comm. Sylvia Garcia, Susan Gonzales, Choco Gonzalez Meza, Laura Hernandez, Cynthia Jasso Rotunno, Lydia Madrigal, Joelle Martinez, Regina Montoya, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Maria Teresa Petersen, Laura Pena, Catherine Pino, Julissa Reynoso, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rep. Linda Sanchez, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Hilda Solis, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Rep. Nydia Velazquez.

Leadership Council

Patricia Campos, Maria Cardona, Alejandra Castillo, Marieli Colon-Padilla, Ana Cruz, Benita Duran, Maria Echaveste, Laura Esquivel, Cha Guzman, Helen Hernandez, Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Antonia Jimenez, Carmen Lomellin, Cristina Lopez, Maria Lopez-Donado, Vilma Luna, Lydia Madrigal, Elisa Montoya, Liz Montoya, Elisa Sanchez, Susan Santana, Monika Torres, Sylvia Trujillo, Maria Villarreal, Laura Volluz.

Friends of PODER PAC

Dean Aguillen, Caroline Buerkle, Michael Canale, Tom Castro, Jorge Haynes, Jason D. Mida & Drew Hammill, Sen. Robert Menendez, David Montoya, Jose Villarreal[14].

References