Ilyse Hogue: NARAL Pro Choice Announces Hogue As Nancy Keenan Replacement

NARAL Pro-Choice America announced on Monday that Ilyse Hogue, activist, writer and political strategist, will be its new president. She will replace Nancy Keenan, who is stepping down after an eight-year tenure.

Hogue is the co-founder of Friends of Democracy super PAC, a group dedicated to campaign finance reform. She formerly served as communications and political advocacy director for MoveOn.org, a former senior adviser to Media Matters for America, the nonprofit progressive media watchdog, and has been a columnist for the progressive magazine, The Nation.

She is a well-known and respected figure among her peers and NARAL’s announcement has generated rave reviews in feminist circles with websites like Jezebel, which called Hogue “an awesome choice” and Feministing.com, which called the selection “an exciting day for the future of reproductive rights activism!

These websites also represent new young audiences that have been identified by NARAL and its supporters as necessary to move the organization’s agenda and mission forward. Hogue seems as if she is the perfect fit.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given the honor of leading this great organization,” Hogue said. “This is a critical moment to engage a new generation of young people in the conversation about what choice means in a modern age. We have a unique opportunity to ignite the pro-choice values most Americans share, solidify our longstanding pro-choice base, and expand its reach moving forward.”

NARAL is the oldest pro-choice advocacy and charitable group in the country with a membership, according to its website, of nearly one million. Founded in 1969, its national headquarters is in Washington, DC. It has a staff of more than 50 and an annual budget of nearly $10 million, that works primarily on federal issues, and a $5 million operating budget for its charitable foundation. Likewise, it has a complex network of 23 affiliates around the country, each with its own budget and its own board of directors. Its primary task is to raise its own money for its work on the state level.

Keenan, courageously and boldly, announced last spring that she was stepping down and that her action was a wake-up-call that NARAL needed a younger generation to take on its leadership.

As I, and my baby-boomer activist friends, wish Hogue much success and pledge our support, may we all remember Keenan’s powerful and heartfelt words:

""None of us can walk in another woman's shoes. None of us knows the situation that she is in. None of us know what her feelings are. It is a complexity for every woman. It is not something that is done cavalierly. It is not. She thinks about it. As I've said to many elected officials, women hear their gods. They don't need to be listening to the gods of politicians."  

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Ann Jackowitz

Ann Jackowitz writes and lectures on social injustice, gender inequality, LGBT issues, minority women including Jewish women, fundraising (with years as a senior exec at non-profit organizations) and breast cancer advocacy (she represented SHARE on the NBCC's board. of directors) She has produced films and written on "Anna O," an early inspiration for Freud's use of the "talking cure."

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