Earlier this month, Cheron Brylski, the campaign press secretary for state Sen. Paulette Irons' failed bid for mayor, shared some lessons from the defeat with a local meeting of the Louisiana chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus.
"A woman's biggest advantage is her biggest liability," Brylski said. "Voters see women candidates as more honest, less corrupt and less tied to special interest groups." If any kind of allegations stick, whether true or not, "voters start peeling off." Male candidates are accorded more leeway, Brylski says.
Another lesson: "Even the slightest hint that a woman candidate is 'just a politician after all' can be deadly."
Other lessons from Irons' defeat, says Brylski:
· "Women come to the table in politics for a cause; men come for a deal."
· "The most acceptable woman candidate is still the one who comes to the political game with a powerful husband or family member in the background."
· "A woman candidate with a strong pro-business voting record will not be the first choice of the dominant male business community."
· New Orleans' lack of an independent, self-funded women's business community is "evident" in the lack of independent women candidates for public office.
· "Women voters still need to be educated about why women in elected, executive positions will change things economically, socially and politically for women and girls."
Different lessons may be in store for Sen. Irons. State Attorney General Richard Ieyoub last week announced a special prosecutor will investigate charges made during the campaign of Irons' alleged dual office-holding, which is illegal in Louisiana.
Tyler Bridges, author of Bad Bet on the Bayou and a former reporter for The Times-Picayune, last week made news in a society column of The Miami Herald, where he now works as a political writer. The South American newsmagazine Caretas reports that Peruvian congresswoman Cecilia Tait is pregnant, and the father is Bridges. "He looks like Richard Gere but with green eyes," Tait reportedly said.
The two met when Bridges was on assignment in Peru, according to The Herald. Both Bridges and Tait are reportedly going though divorces. The baby, a girl, is due April 29. Bridges told his paper: "Not easy, having a long-distance relationship -- but it's worth it."
Communications Workshops Offered
Three workshops designed to facilitate cross-cultural communication are being offered in March and April. The Teams for Inter-Ethnic Solutions (TIES) workshop is a free one-day training that offers techniques for enhancing positive ethnic relations in the workplace and the community. Designed for human resources professionals, community leaders and activists, and social service professionals, TIES is a project of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, an ethnic relations center based at Tulane University.
The workshops will be at Family Service of New Orleans, the Jewish Community Center, and the House of Blues. The seminars are underwritten by grants from the Righteous Persons Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the International House of Blues Foundation, the Keller Family Foundation, and the RosaMary Foundation. For more information, call 865-6100, ext. 3.
Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese, who last May won election to an unexpired term, will be the guest of honor at a fundraiser to help eliminate a $60,000 campaign debt. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Hubbard Mansion, 3535 St. Charles Ave, and a bed and breakfast owned and operated by political operative Don Hubbard. Reese is expected to run for a full four-year term in the fall elections.