The Utah Women & Politics PAC (UWP-PAC) was formed by a small group of Salt Lake City women who participated together in the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017.
Upon returning to Utah, we determined to help change the face of the Utah State Legislature to make sure that our more moderate beliefs are represented. We knew we must expand into a larger group in order to pool enough money to make an impact.
The primary purpose of the UWP-PAC is to raise money to provide financial support to viable candidates of either party who are running for the Utah State Legislature. We focus on districts that could swing to a more moderate candidate. We look for candidates who demonstrate electability, diverse perspectives and moderate political views in line with their districts. While the PAC has no gender requirements for candidates, it seeks to achieve a balanced and diverse legislature.
Our unique niche is providing significant funding to Utah State Legislative candidates. We are unique because the UWP-PAC is comprised mostly of women and all funds come solely from individual donations. Other local and national groups focus on research, advocacy, policy development, voter registration and candidate in-kind support; we work with them. Our principal purpose is to provide the funds to selected candidates to run successful campaigns and get elected to office.
A minimum donation of $100 per year is required to become a voting member of the UWP-PAC. Sustaining members are asked to donate a minimum of $1,000 per year. We encourage each member to donate as much as she is willing.
To determine which candidates to support, the PAC examines each district’s data and decides which have the most potential for change. We require candidates to submit an application and interview in-person with members of our vetting committee. The vetting committee ranks and recommends candidates for financial support based on criteria developed by the PAC. PAC members vote whom to approve. The selected candidates meet with members to explain their positions.
The Leadership Committee recommends a level of financial support for each candidate. We split each candidate’s funding into smaller distributions over several months so that we can assess the candidates’ progress in their race. All funded candidates are required to report on how the funds received were used and what the next draw will finance in their campaigns.
While our primary purpose is fundraising, members have other opportunities to engage with and support candidates. Candidate liaisons for each candidate maintain a relationship with their candidate’s campaign. They communicate opportunities for members to help through volunteer efforts - making phone calls, writing letters, developing campaign materials, hosting/securing fundraising events, canvassing, etc. Members are invited to participate only as time and interest permit.
The PAC Leadership Committee is made up of no more than 12 individuals, seven of whom have made an annual contribution of at least $1,000 to the PAC and/or are “founding members” (this may change over time). The remaining leadership committee members are drawn from the general membership. These may be individuals with access to special communities, affiliate groups and/or networks and/or demographics. While we do not require these members to donate personally at the $1,000 (sustainer) level, we expect all members of the Leadership Committee to support the PAC’s efforts to raise money through donations and/or special events or in-kind time/talent contributions The Leadership Committee will recommend the individuals to serve on the leadership team, and they will be confirmed by the PAC membership.
In the 2018 midterm election, UWP-PAC supported 12 candidates on the Wasatch Front. Six were elected. Others lost by close margins.
Our goal for 2020 is to elect additional moderate and progressive candidates statewide. Prominent issues for them to support are a clean environment, more funding and support for education, accessible healthcare and fair voter-districting efforts.