WELead OC’s 2016 Political Kickoff Luncheon & Honoring Women Leaders in OC
By Saboohi Ahmed

On a bright afternoon on Thursday the 21 st of January 2016, the Women Empowered group led by director Karen Hinks hosted a special reception at Antonello’s Restaurant in Santa Ana California. The group WELead OC’s agenda is to identify and assist Democratic women candidates from Orange County to run for political office at the local, state and national level.

The luncheon was arranged to honor four special women who have made a difference in the lives of residents of Orange County. The first honoree was Rima Nashashibi who is a recognized speaker around the world on issues involving equal opportunity, tolerance, and fairness. She served as Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County and is a prominent member of the Arab-American community. The second honoree was Tammy Tran, Senior Community Liaison for Southern California Edison. Tammy has a long history of working on political campaigns and has been the District Director of the campaign of State Senator Lou Correa and an activist in the Vietnamese community in Orange County. The third honoree was Laura Kanter, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Youth Programs of the LGBT Center of OC. The fourth and last honoree was Jennifer Muir the successor to Orange County Employee Union former General Manager Nick Berardino. Jennifer is 35 years old and was designated Orange County’s Most Influential Persons in 2015. She manages a union that has 18,000 members and has a challenging task of protecting the rights of workers in Orange County.

The luncheon set in the elegant surroundings of Antonello’s was packed to capacity with over 150 guests in attendance. The chief guest was Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, representing Congressional District 38. She was accompanied by a surprise guest, Loretta Sanchez, her sister who represents the 46 th District. Both the Sanchez sisters reflect the values of Empowered Women as they grew up in modest circumstances as children of immigrants from Mexico, but through education and hard work rose to high political office.

Also present at the standing room only event were other significant players in the OC political scene. Beth Krom Council Member from Irvine was in attendance as was Dr Lorraine Prinsky Trustee of Coast Community Colleges. Candidates for 2016 elected office included Farrah Khan who is running for Irvine City Council and Diana Carey candidate for Westminster City Council.

The message from the honorees was that women should be motivated to run for office at the local, state and national level. Women of minority origin should be especially encouraged to seek elected office. As Congresswoman Linda Sanchez told the group, “If you are not at the table where the decisions are being made, there is a good chance that you will end up being on the menu”.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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