Vote for the 2017 Rising Star
Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office.
Read about the six nominees below, then cast your vote for who you believe should be the next Rising Star.
Nevada Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson
Teresa Benitez-Thompson is the first Latina to serve as the majority leader in the Nevada Assembly. As a social worker, mom, and proud Nevadan, Teresa is committed to knocking down barriers that stand in women's way because she knows when women do better, families do better. Teresa is fighting to end Nevada’s rape kit backlog, keep access to birth control affordable and convenient, and ensure women have multiple seats at the table. She is the present and future of the Democratic Party.
Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans
In 2008, Mayor Coral Evans made history by becoming the first woman of color elected to Flagstaff’s city council. In 2016, she broke another barrier by being the first person of color elected as mayor in Flagstaff and the first African American woman elected as mayor in Arizona. Coral also works as the executive director of a nonprofit serving the historically Hispanic neighborhood of Sunnyside. There she founded a small business incubator which primarily serves women seeking to start their businesses. Coral is widely known as a fierce and vocal advocate for social justice.
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
As Missouri’s watchdog for government transparency and accountability, Nicole holds public officials accountable to citizens, uncovering millions in waste and fraud. She has shined a light on issues that impact families, including college affordability and cybersecurity in schools. The only Democratic state office holder serving in deep red Missouri, Nicole has led on family-friendly policies such as paid parental leave. Earlier this year she became Missouri’s first statewide office holder to have a baby while in office.
Seattle City Councilmember Lorena González
In 2015, Lorena made history as the first Latina elected to Seattle City Council. She is a champion for women, immigrants, and workers. The daughter of once undocumented immigrants, Lorena earned her first paycheck at age eight and worked multiple jobs to attend college and law school. She spent a decade defending everyday people against powerful interests as a nationally recognized civil rights attorney. She is currently advocating for paid family leave and legal aid for undocumented immigrants.
Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym
Elected in 2015, Helen Gym became Philadelphia’s first Asian American woman elected to city council. She won her at-large seat after 20 years of grassroots organizing on behalf of Philadelphia’s public education system and immigrant communities. In her first year, she won historic investments toward universal pre-K, youth homelessness, and expanded resources for public schools. Helen is now leading the charge nationally around sanctuary cities and immigrant rights – and becoming a leading voice for cities resisting and winning with a progressive agenda.
Virginia state Senator Jennifer McClellan
Jennifer McClellan was elected to the Virginia state Senate in January 2017. She serves on the agriculture, conservation and natural resources, local government, and transportation committees; chairs the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission; co-chairs the Capital Region Caucus; and is a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council.