Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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Women’s History Gala will be March 8 in Ukiah; 5 local women to be honored

Thirty-five years ago, President Carter designated the month of March as Women’s History Month. The Mendocino Women’s Political Coalition (MWPC) will present the 32nd Annual Women’s History Gala Celebration on Sunday, March 8, at noon, at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse, 107 S. Oak St., Ukiah.

Five Mendocino County women who embody this year’s theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” will be honored.

Cathy Monroe, Jean Near, Victoria Patterson, Leslie Dahlhoff and Merita Whatley have been selected as the 2015 honorees. They exemplify their outstanding leadership through diverse educational and environmental endeavors and achievements.

The featured speaker will be Fiona Ma, recently elected Member of the State Board of Equalization, District 2. Fiona Ma was first elected to represent the people of California’s 12th Assembly District from November 2006 until her November 2014 election.

Ma was the 112th woman to be elected to the California Legislature and with the appointment from Speaker of the Assembly, John A. Perez, the first Asian-American woman to serve as Speaker pro Tempore since 1850. Ma, as the Majority Whip, was responsible for ensuring the passage of crucial legislation to improve public education, expand healthcare access and protect our environment.

Fiona Ma entered politics in 1995, serving as a part-time district representative for the former President pro Tempore of the California Senate, John Burton. Ma was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2002, where she served for four years. During her tenure on the Board of Supervisors, she authored the landmark Local Business Enterprise ordinance on behalf of women and minority business owners and passed legislation to tackle human trafficking. She holds an MBA from Pepperdine University; she is currently a CPA and a member of the Aspen Institute’s 2009 class of Aspen-Rodel Fellows.

Creative songs addressing equal justice for women will be performed by the Raging Grannies, who are part of an international movement of “little old ladies” for peace and justice.

The group originated in Canada and spread around the world. Their trademark is to take familiar songs and change the words to cover relevant issues and to present their songs with identifying props: silly hats, aprons and shawls.

Mendocino’s Gaggle of Grannies has grown to include 10 women throughout the county: Jen Burnstad, Kate Castagnola, Terry D’Selkie, Annie Esposito, Barbara Lamb, Charlene Light, Lynda McClure, Ede Morris, Jini Reynolds and Hafsa Stewart.

Co-sponsors to honor the 2015 Mendocino County Honorees are: AAUW-Ukiah, Cloud Forest Institute, Soroptimist International-Ukiah, and the Ukiah Saturday Afternoon Club.

Everyone is invited to attend this Women’s History Gala to support women in public office; to celebrate women of our community; and to enjoy the socializing, music, and refreshments.

Tickets: $10 at the door. Further information: 895-3543.