The Oregon Women’s Campaign School is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization run by a board of volunteers and financed entirely through voluntary contributions. The School originated from the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus. Formed in 1972, the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus was a bipartisan group formed by Gretchen Kafoury, Margie Hendriksen, Jeanne Dost, and others. They were reacting to a trend that still corrodes American democracy, under representation. These women wanted to challenge the “old boys club” mentality in politics, especially at a time when women still didn’t have a legal right to choose.
In 1979, the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus came to the conclusion that working within the male-dominated government was only one piece to increasing women’s role in their government. Getting women elected into office was the other essential piece. The School was created to encourage, educate, and support women running for office. The School’s function remains the same. However, over the decades, the School’s mission shifted from female candidates to any candidate that is a champion for reproductive justice.
It is essential that we have reproductive justice activists and electeds fighting for our rights here in Oregon. All people should have access to reproductive health care, regardless of someone’s income, race, gender or immigration status, and we are investing our time to make that a reality. Oregon is the only state in the union that has no legal restrictions to access to abortion. We helped train the champions that fought for that title and the School will continue to educate our future activists and electeds to protect and expand that right. Let’s continue to make Oregon a woman-friendly state by electing champions of reproductive justice!