The Women’s Investment Network Political Action Committee, or WINPAC, was founded in 1987. For more than 20 years, WINPAC has raised thousands of dollars to help pro-choice Democratic women running for the Oregon Legislature. In the 2008 election cycle, WINPAC contributed $97,000 to first-time women candidates.
Founded two years after EMILY’s List, WINPAC endorsed its first candidates for office in 1988. WINPAC was originally non-partisan, but changed its endorsement criteria in 1994 to support only Democratic women candidates. WINPAC contributes dollars directly to pro-choice, Democratic women legislative candidates and collects checks made out directly to their campaigns (known as “bundling” in the political fundraising world).
WINPAC has made a real difference over the years. During the 2009 legislative session, 10 of the 18 Senate Democrats were women, making it the only caucus in the country with a majority of women. The powerful revenue and budget committees were chaired by women. In the House, two WINPAC endorsed candidates became the first Democrats elected from east of the Cascades in over 10 years (Rep. Judy Stiegler of Bend and Rep. Suzanne VanOrman of Hood River).
A short few election cycles after that, in 2013, we saw Rep. Tina Kotek installed as Speaker of the House and Rep. Val Hoyle elected to lead the majority party. This placed Oregon in a unique position nationally, as one of the only places where pro-choice, Democratic women dominated leadership in the legislature.
Still, today, Oregon has the highest number of women in legislative leadership positions in the country. Beyond the Capitol grounds, our current Governor, Kate Brown and our sitting Secretary of State, Jeanne Atkins, were also WINPAC endorsed candidates when they first set out for office.
WINPAC is honored and thrilled to continue to fill the pipeline with Democratic, pro-choice, female candidates – especially after 30 years of advocacy and fundraising. We couldn’t do it without your support!