Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel slams stereotype that ‘female leaders can’t work together’ during DNC Zoom watch party

By: - August 20, 2020 1:10 pm

Attorney General Dana Nessel hosts a virtual Biden/Harris campaign event with female Democratic leaders in Michigan

Attorney General Dana Nessel and other female Michigan officials (virtually) let loose Wednesday ahead of the National Democratic Convention, in a Zoom event celebrating the 2018 “pink wave” while aiming to spur enthusiasm for the 2020 Democratic ticket.

Nessel kicked off the call by cracking open a can of Michigan beer and playing “Get the Party Started” by P!nk, while red, white and blue balloons fell from the ceiling.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and U.S. Reps. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and all made appearances on the call, while U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared via a pre-recorded speech for the group of Michigan Democratic women leaders.

“I think there’s a stereotype out there that for some reason, female leaders can’t work together — and I gotta tell you, nothing could be further from the truth,” Nessel said. “I would say barely a week goes by where I don’t talk to every single woman who is on this event right now about all kinds of different issues.”

Whitmer and Nessel joked about “shark week,” in reference to a hot mic moment that went viral earlier this week ahead of Whitmer’s DNC speech, before launching into a discussion of why representation is important in politics in Michigan and beyond.

“Seeing a woman take the oath of office as our vice president is something that I can’t wait to watch with my two daughters next to me,” Whitmer said, praising former Vice President Joe Biden’s pick of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his presidential running mate.

Harris is the first Black woman to run for the VP slot of a major party, and the third-ever woman to do so.

Speakers on the call highlighted key issues like absentee voting, health care and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the wellbeing of the U.S. Postal Service.

Slotkin reiterated the need for Dems to come together and not just unite on being anti-Trump, but be able to offer a real Democratic vision and agenda for voters to get excited about.

After Stabenow and Lawrence spoke, Nessel praised the diversity of Michigan’s political and legislative leadership.

“I look at the people that represent us in Michigan, and we are so diverse. We are male and female; we are Black and Brown and white,;we are straight and gay; we are Jewish, Muslim and Christian. We come from all areas of the state and we represent so many different people,” Nessel said.

“If you look at the other side of the aisle and you see who represents us in Congress, it’s a bunch of straight Christian white dudes. … That’s not truly representative of who our state is or our country is.”

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).