State group dedicated to electing women backing Truesdell

Published 4:22 am Friday, September 28, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Judy Truesdell was narrowly defeated last November for the state representative's seat in the 78th district by incumbent Neal Nitz, R-Baroda.
Truesdell, a Democrat, recently announced her candidacy for that post again this year, as Michigan's term limits prevent Nitz from seeking another term in 2008.
This year, Truesdell will be getting a lot of help, thanks to a program called MI List.
A fundraiser was held Thursday evening for Truesdell at the Acorn Theatre in Three Oaks. Barbara Ryan Fuller, one of the founders of MI List, was the key note speaker at the event.
"We are losing women in key state and local offices faster than ever. What MI List does is elects Pro-Choice, Democratic women to the Michigan legislature and key local offices," Fuller said. "One of the reasons we are working with Judy is because the seat she is running for opens this year and she was narrowly defeated last year, so we think she has an excellent chance of getting in this year."
Another woman, Sharon Tyler of Niles, has announced her candidacy also for the 78th district state representative position. Tyler is running as a Republican.
Founded just three years ago, MI List is a statewide organization and donor network dedicated to electing Pro-Choice, Democratic women to the Michigan legislature and key local offices.
MI List will strategically recruit and support Pro-Choice, Demoractic women to create a team of viable candidates to run for elected office, Fuller said.
MI List helps candidates by providing financial assistance, political training and support to help build strong campaigns and recruit and train political staff to help women win.
"People are ready to elect women. They feel women are more honest, in touch with day-to-day issues. They know kids' issues inside and out, along with a number of other issues. My mission is to find good women, give them the tools they need and the confidence to know they can win," Fuller said.
Truesdell said she is honored to have Fuller here and have her as a key note speaker at the fund-raising event Thursday.
"We're going to set a tone that we are ready and well positioned to run this campaign. We're being very optimistic and it's exciting to be back," Truesdell said.
MI List wants to encourage women that they can get out and run for offices, even if it's in their hometown.
"Whether it's running for city council, the school board, a township office or a county clerk, we want women to know that it is possible. MI List offers something to women that nobody else does," Fuller said.
To educate women more on this, two candidate training days have been scheduled. One, Oct. 19-20 in Detroit, is already full and and filled up faster than anyone expected.
Another training session will take place at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor on Saturday, Nov. 10. Seats are still available for this class, however, they are also filling fast. These classes are open to Democratic women interested in running for office. It is free of charge.
"We believe that women will step forward and run for office if they are confident and have the support behind them. That's what we do. The word is getting out about women taking office seats and more now believe that can do it. We encourage them to go for it," Fuller said.
Fuller and Truesdell also said many times, a woman will not consider running for office unless she is asked.
Truesdell admitted she never really thought about it until her then- boss, Edward Woods III, said she should really think about running.
"My first thought was 'no way. I am way too busy, I have too much going on.' I told my husband, Terry, about this and a few days later he said 'you have to do it. This is something you can do and will be good at.' And here I am," Truesdell said.
Truesdell, a native of Michigan, was born and raised in Pontiac. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. Truesdell's husband, Terry, is a Niles native and a University of Michigan graduate. The couple have lived in Niles for 38 years.
The Truesdells are the parents of one daughter, Meg, and two granddaughters. Daughter Meg operates Red Shoe Jewelry and The Lolly Shop in downtown Niles. In addition, she owns with her mother a small online business called
Truesdell and husband Terry operate IDI Design Group in Niles.
Fuller has been involved with over a dozen campaigns and has more than 20 years of experience. She has managed both primary and general election races ranging from Village President to U.S. Senate, having worked on behalf of the former State Senator Lana Pollack, State Representative Mary Schroer, State Representative Pam Byrnes and Congresswoman Lynn Rivers.
"When Judy ran for last year, it was one of the toughest times to run. There was no presidential election and she did very well, losing by only 2 percent of the vote. I believe strongly that she can win and she has a lot of support behind this," Fuller added.