Comets Team Up to Boost Women in Politics

Brooke Lpez and Adrianna Maberry at a laptop

Brooke López BS'17 (left) and graduate student Adrianna Maberry created the Lone Star Parity Project to spotlight women in Texas politics.

A new project by a UT Dallas student and a recent graduate is dedicated to helping more women get elected to public office in Texas.

The Lone Star Parity Project is a nonpartisan online publication that tells the stories of women involved in Texas politics.

Adrianna Maberry, a master’s student in geospatial information sciences in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, and Brooke López BS’17, who earned her degree in public affairs, created the site to inspire women candidates and provide tools and research to help them succeed.

“I thought I would start gathering these stories and sharing them with other women, not only to inspire them into running for office but to help them gain insight they wouldn’t have had previously,” said López, the project’s executive director.

They developed the outreach project after being selected as two of 30 students statewide to serve as Texas Civic Ambassadors. Offered through the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at UT Austin’s Moody College of Communication, the program supports student leaders who work to combat apathy and encourage young people to get involved in public life.

The site features interviews with candidates and others involved in politics. Maberry, López and other volunteers — including some fellow Texas Civic Ambassadors from different parts of the state — write the stories based on answers from a uniform questionnaire that also helps them collect research data.

“We believe that women bring the diversity of thought to public office,” said Maberry, who serves as research director and recently was selected for the Bill Archer Fellowship Program. “We hope to make a difference by providing [potential candidates] with good information.”

Dr. Marianne C. Stewart, professor of political science who teaches a Women and Politics course, said organizations that support women candidates play an important role in helping women decide whether to run for office.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm among women, particularly young women, for running for public elected office," Stewart said. "Whether that will convert to candidacy depends on the ability of initiatives like the Lone Star Parity Project to help women be skillful candidates."

López said she came up with the idea for the project based on her experience running for the Wylie City Council at age 18. When she entered the race, she said she realized how much she did not know, including the importance of canvassing door to door, seeking endorsements and finding a campaign finance manager.

Now, López works as a facilitator at IGNITE National, which teaches leadership skills and civic engagement to young women.

“We wanted to start gathering toolkits for women running for office because when I ran, I did not know a single thing about campaigning,” she said. “Since then, I’ve used my experience to help other young women who might be interested in serving in public office someday.”

Alumna Earns Honor from Women's Foundation

The Dallas Women’s Foundation selected Brooke López BS’17 as a recipient of a 2018 Young Leader Award.

The award honors individuals who have catalyzed change for women and girls in North Texas. López, who graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, got involved in government and politics by working with her local congresswoman to propose a state bill when she was 16. She ran for Wylie City Council at age 18 and was appointed to the city of Wylie’s Public Arts Advisory Board when she was 19.

López currently serves as a program facilitator for IGNITE National, a group focused on getting more women to run for office, and is a representative on its National Communications Advisory Council. She plans to attend law school in the fall.

The Dallas Women’s Foundation will honor López at the Leadership Forum & Awards Dinner, presented by AT&T, on April 19 at the Dallas Omni Hotel.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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