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Stand Up to Serve

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Democratic women did well in the 2010 elections. They held on to more of their seats than their male counterparts, four of the nine new House freshmen are women, and the victories of Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray are largely credited with Democratic retention of the Senate. But the overall number of women serving in Congress went down this year. For the first time.

So what happened? The decline didn't happen because Democratic women aren't winning. It happened because not enough of them are running.

And that's what EMILY's List intends to fix -- with your help. Today we renew our commitment to recruiting, training, and electing talented Democratic women across the country. And we need everyone who shares our commitment to women's leadership and policies that support women and their families to stand with us, too. It's time to Stand Up and Serve.

During the State of the Union, President Obama laid out a plan for a future filled with opportunities for our children and our communities. To achieve that vision, we need women's voices to be heard and women's priorities to be heeded. We need women to stand up for issues that impact our families and our communities, like health care that doesn't make being a woman a pre-existing condition and that keeps children and families healthy. Like common-sense financial reform that puts the stability of families over the profits of corporations. Like policies that help level the landscape for women, from equal pay to child care, which enable women to realize their personal and professional potential.

We need women to run for every office, from the most local on up, to ensure that women's voices, women's values, and women's priorities are represented in every conversation about our communities.

And so we're calling out to women across the country and saying: Run. Tell your friends to run. Tell us about your friend who should run. Ask us who's running and needs your support. Make this opportunity your cause. This is how we make sure our numbers are increasing in government, just like they are in board rooms, law school classes, and Fortune 500 lists.

EMILY's List is here to support women dedicating themselves to service. Are you curious about what it takes to run and serve? Wondering if you could be that candidate -- or that campaign manager? Over the next few months, we're going to pull back the curtain and let you learn from women who've done it.

Looking to learn how you can support Democratic women fighting for women and families in Washington and throughout the country? EMILY's List can introduce you to inspirational women. Over the last 26 years, we've built an incredible pipeline between Americans who want to see more Democratic women in office, and the women fighting to be there. We can join those Americans together to create a powerful force that literally makes the difference for women running tough campaigns. We turn candidates and voters all over the country into one team.

The first time we introduce a new candidate to our community it's a powerful thing. It means support, funding, volunteers -- it means a base you can build a winning campaign on. It means people you can count on when you need help, whether it's someone traveling through the night to get to your district to help with a crisis, or thousands of $10 donations from women you've never met but who want you to know they've got your back.

Last year, we were so proud to help Gabby Giffords win a tough reelection. Since we first met Gabby, years ago during her first campaign, we could tell she had one of the brightest futures in politics.

Gabby was an inspiration to a 9-year-old named Christina Taylor Green, who went to the Congress on Your Corner event to meet her representative, because she was interested in government and had been recently elected to the student council. She was a girl who wanted to participate in our democracy, and she had a woman representative to look up to. I know how powerful that is -- I remember like it was yesterday the first time I saw a woman elected official, when she came to visit my high school in Butte, Montana. Seeing a woman in a role like that was life-changing for me.

It is more important than ever that we get involved, stay involved, and encourage others to join us. We can't be dissuaded by fear, or slowed down by how daunting it can seem to throw our hats in the ring, or put off by the deep challenges we face. The future of our country depends on women standing up to serve -- to ensure that our priorities are reflected in our country's policies. And to ensure that every girl who wins a student council election has a woman to look up to.

Whatever you do: do it today. Check out emilyslist.org/service - whether you've got an hour or a year - we can help you find a way to make an impact.

Cross-posted to the EMILY's List Blog.