Group draws attention to women’s issues this election

— Political pundits are saying that women may decide the 2012 elections.

Here in Central New York, a new political action group isn’t surprised.

“Initially, we brought up the idea in general that things had been going on in this country that were negative for women, and it’s putting us back many years,” said Ruth Kutz of Syracuse. “A lot of us remember what it was like before birth control and the fight for abortion, and it feels a lot like we’re back there again. It just seemed like an ideal time to grab women and get them energized for this election, get them to get out and vote.”

That’s why she and Nancy Bunn of Marcellus came together to form Women’s Initiative Now (WIN), a group dedicated to supporting candidates that they feel champion women’s issues, as well as the issues of working families. The group formed in June of 2012. They hold monthly meetings at which they discuss the candidates they support, political issues, fundraising techniques and how to gain new members.

“We’ve signed up more than 100 people,” Kutz said. “They’re not all at the meetings, but they’ve all expressed some kind of interest. I’m shocked by how many have shown interest.”

While Kutz and Bunn may have founded the group, they don’t consider themselves the leaders.

“We call ourselves ‘facilitators,’” Kutz said.

WIN got its start when a friend’s cousin came to town and explained the basics to Kutz and Bunn.

“A friend of ours has a cousin from Connecticut had visited, and she’s part of a similar group there — I’m not sure if she started it, or if she’s just involved with it. But she offered to give us some general advice,” Kutz said. “She was very inspiring. They’ve certainly been in existence longer and been more effective than we’ve been in our few months, but what they do is very similar — walking and canvassing for candidates. We’re still evolving.”

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