Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Why don't more Republican Women Run for Office?

By Bunni Pounds

Why don’t we have more women in the Republican Party running for political office?

I am asked this question quite often, so I am just going to take the plunge and try to answer it to the best of my ability.

As the ONLY Republican woman in Texas to make it to the Primary Runoff ballot in 2018 for Congress, I believe I have something to say concerning the subject. 

Additional credentials to take on this topic which I know is volatile in our party: I was endorsed by Vice President Mike Pence in my Congressional race and I raised more money than any open seat candidate in the state of Texas (i.e. many people believed in me as a candidate). 

First, here are the facts:

In the U.S. House during the last election cycle, we had 35 new Democrat women elected to the House of Representatives which raised their party’s totals to 89 women.

The number of GOP women in the U.S. House dwindled from 23 to 13, with only one new Republican woman being elected in November 2018, Rep. Carol Miller (R- W.Va.). We now have only 13 Republican women out of 435 Members of Congress. 

Thank God for Congresswoman Kay Granger here in Fort Worth, Texas.

In the U.S. Senate, there are 23 women out of 100 Senators. Only 7 of those women in the Senate are Republicans.  We gained only two new GOP women U.S Senators this last election cycle. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was elected and Senator Martha McSally in Arizona was appointed to fill an open Senate seat.

When I saw this picture of the U.S. House GOP freshman class, I have to say - I was sad.

At the Vice President's Christmas Party (Dec. 2018)

Carol Miller wasn’t in attendance, and it was just a group of men, all white men.

Now let me be frank, I helped to elect a few of these good men, and they are my heroes and friends. I want to make clear from the onset that I am not saying those standing in this picture shouldn’t be there, that they are not qualified or that they won’t represent us well. I am sure most of them will.

My question for all of us in the Republican Party is this - when our party was losing suburban women to the Democrat Party left and right in 2018, where were our voices represented as women?

Where were the college-educated business women and entrepreneurs who should have been standing up there with those principled men? 
We are fighters for liberty, too.

Out of all the conservative Republican women in the United States, couldn’t we recruit any to run for Congress?

Are our voices being heard in our party?

Couldn’t we find anyone to talk about conservative values for America in the context of our voices - working women, moms caring for their children’s educations, or women who start businesses that create a new needed product or service?

Women bring different life experiences to the table and different leadership styles to our national conversation. Many women are excellent administrators and long-term strategic thinkers. Women tend to work sometimes better than men in a bi-partisan manner because they seek common ground and are problem solvers. Women communicate many times with more empathy on life experiences and we are good story tellers which open conversations to distinctly different people to think about our ideas and our values.

Let’s just say – women as candidates and elected officials in our Republican Party help us and make us stronger. They are huge assets to our party’s mantra of personal responsibility and individual liberty. They thrive as women in America because of those ideals. 

A Case Study – 2018 Texas

In 2018, I was the only Republican woman in Texas to make it to the Primary Runoff in six open seats.

This is just a sample case study, but we had 45 GOP candidates in races to replace retiring Members of Congress in six seats (TX02, TX03, TX05, TX06, TX21, TX27).

Only 5 of us were women, and only I alone made the runoff ballot.

In Texas, we only have 6 GOP women in the Texas House and 6 in the Texas Senate. 

In 2018, we only elected one new GOP woman Senator, Angela Paxton and one new GOP House member, Candy Noble. That is it! I know both of these great women, but Collin County shouldn’t be the only county in Texas electing conservative Republican women.

Why are these numbers so sparse in our Grand Ole Party?

Based on years of research on the disparity between women and men running for public office, we have seen several key deterrents that surface for women of both parties.

First, women are more worried about their qualifications to run than men. They worry that their resumes don’t match up.

Secondly, they are also less likely to be recruited by political players or by national parties.

And I believe the biggest deterrent or challenge is their family responsibilities intervene in their desires or thoughts of running for office.

When we get down to the Republican Party and our obstacles, then we have a whole other list that I feel like we need to identify and talk about.

First, Republicans really want the best person for the job, period.

As conservatives, we don’t buy into identity politics, quotas, or affirmative action, so why would we think we need one gender of representation over another?

We look at people’s resumes, their conservative credentials, their ability to communicate, their longevity in standing up for our values, and base our vote on that, not on the gender of the candidate.

Because of that, I think Republican women tend to talk themselves out of going for something that might put them front and center above someone else. We look at someone else’s resume (i.e. a man’s resume) and say, “They have the ability to serve, so I will let them. I can support them.” Not realizing that we have similar qualifications and at the same time not realizing our state and our nation might need our voices to be heard.

Because of this bent in our party, we tend to downplay our womanhood instead of celebrating it.

When I ran for Congress, we hadn’t had a female freshman elected to Congress out of Texas in 22 years. That was a long time. The Democrat women who were running for different Congressional seats around the state celebrated that they were women and asked people to vote for them to help them break that drought.

For me, running in East Dallas County and six rural counties in East Texas, I had to downplay that I was a woman. When the Texas Tribune asked me for a quote, I said, “I am a conservative who happens to be a woman, not a conservative running as a woman, and I’m honored by the overwhelming support I’ve earned across all 7 counties.....”

True - but it was frustrating for me that I couldn’t celebrate that I was a strong Republican woman in our party with one of the best chances of winning a Congressional seat.

Secondly, Republican women are not wired the same as men & we HONOR men.

Most Republican women don’t strive for success or to “be on top” like men, so we sometimes miss opportunities, we forget to plan for success, or are content with a lessor role where we find a place of service.

We look at the liberal feminists and we say to ourselves, “I don’t want to be them.” 

We appreciate men, we are not angry at men, we want to honor the men in our lives, and sometimes that translates in us letting men do more than us or we give up our place at the table. In a time of ugliness toward men, we won’t want to appear as being a part of that crowd. Sometimes, we humble ourselves to the place of disappearing. 

Many of us were not motivated to run for office because we hate President Trump (Laugh out loud!). Some of us actually love the guy for what he has done for our country and promoting our conservative values. So we lost a big motivation as GOP women that the Democrats had in 2018 - ANGER.

Many of the women I have talked to that ran for office are in these three camps.

- They either exhausted a list of people that they thought would serve well first before they considered themselves.

- They were asked over and over to run till they felt they were being commissioned and called to run.

- Or they served at one level of political responsibility than kept taking them to another step into a higher level of service based in needs that they felt they could fulfill.

As a political consultant, the men I talk to who run for office are motivated completely differently. Most of them are extremely confident that they deserve a seat at the table. They believe they are the best person to run regardless of anyone’s feedback, they plan out fifteen years of their lives and careers to run for office, or they have a bucket list that they just won’t finish if they don’t run.

So how do we get more Republican women to run? 

We need to ask them.

We need to tell them they are the best person to serve.

We need to encourage them to stand up for their convictions.

Here is a big one for our party - We need to not crucify women if they spend time away from their families, get help raising their children, or work hard and long hours to build a business or career.

I have heard Republican women say they won’t support another conservative woman in serving her state or nation because it would take away from her service to her family.

Do we ever say that about men? Aren’t fathers important to?

Again, I understand mothers are important and I would have done anything I could do to be present with my children when they were young, but shouldn’t we leave that up to husbands and wives that are making those decisions?

While running for Congress, I had to make a point of saying in all of my political speeches that my boys were grown. The point was - they don’t need me anymore, folks. Our campaign had to make sure that men or most importantly other women didn’t vote against me because they thought my husband or children needed me more than my nation.

As Republicans, we don’t give the same weight to building successful women role models for our children in whatever they are called to do in their lives. Most of us believe that women can be fulfilled and should be celebrated in the home; which is so TRUE, but at the same time, do we encourage conservative women to take on their dreams even if it is in business, politics, ministry or education?

In the rain in Dallas County at the polls (2018)
Does our emphasis of traditional womanhood or motherhood hinder the amount of Republican or Christian women who believe in themselves enough to build careers and maybe run for office one day?

These are the tough questions that I believe we need to ask ourselves as a Republican party.

Do we want more women representing us?

I believe the answer is YES.

As women who might run for office in the future, do we need to change some of our attitudes and hindrances in our own minds about our worth and our value to our nation?

I believe the answer is YES.

Do we, as voters in the Republican primary electorate, need to change our minds about professional executive leaders who are women and see them as viable representatives of our values?

I believe the answer for the future of our party has to be YES.

One of my favorite days on the campaign trail last year was standing in front of an East Texas Post Office in Cherokee County. I was standing at the polls with my “Bunni Pounds for Congress” sign and a sweet 80 year old man came up to me, looked me straight in the eyes, with a smile and his skinny finger pointing at me, he said  “I voted for you - young lady. Go make us proud!”

Young women in the Republican Party – it is time to stand up, get active defending our nation, and start running.

Go make us proud!

*Note: Bunni Pounds is doing candidate recruitment as a volunteer in North Texas as part of the efforts of the Texas GOP and Dallas GOP. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Recent Appearances - Mother's Day & Point of View Radio

Over the last few months, I have spoken at different churches and was on Point of View radio. Just wanted to archive those and make sure you knew about them if they can be a blessing to you. I spoke at Encounter Church in Wichita Falls on Mother's Day a strong message about SUFFERING. I know an odd message for Mother's Day, but we need to be a little inconvenienced in the Body of Christ and mothers demonstrate that value of giving up their lives so well. We don't know what it means to really suffer here in America, but God wants to provoke us to give up our lives for His kingdom and our fellowman. Whether you listen to it in your car or sit and meditate on it for your quiet time, I pray it blesses you. Here is the message on Facebook Live. 

I also spoke on Point of View radio in April about Christians participation with the Jewish community in support of Israel and how we can make a major difference supporting our democratic ally in the Middle East. I had a great time with Kerby Anderson talking about our trips to Israel and President Trump's record on this important national security issue. The interview is the first 30 minutes of this video. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Practicing the Presence - My Story shared at Trinity Family Church

Watch it here:

It was an honor to speak last Sunday at Trinity Family Church and share a Word on practicing the presence of God, seeking Jesus, and desiring to walk like Enoch. I pray it blesses you.

If you would like to come share the Word at your church, small group, or any gathering, I love to teach the Word of God. Contact me at 972-922-0022 or - Bunni

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Practice the Presence: How a simple man from the 17th century can help us simplify our lives today

By Bunni Pounds

The longer I walk with God the simpler my walk gets. I am convinced that we over complicate our relationship with God. 

For younger believers, I have always broken down devotion to God into three areas so they can remember them- worship, prayer, and the Word of God. Yet even those three can flow in and out of each other and comes down to a simple posture of turning our eyes to Jesus. A healthy vibrant spiritual life really in simplicity to being with God and making Jesus our number one thought every day - turning our affections toward Him through our often weak and half-hearted prayers.

In our crazy busy culture that we live in, this can seem so hard, but it is because our souls are so cluttered. Just as we de-clutter our houses or our closets, the Holy Spirit, our teacher, wants to take us on a journey of de-cluttering our souls.

If you are a born again believer who has accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then your spirit is reborn and is in the constant presence of God; but so often we don’t tap into our spirits, our internal lives, because of all the noise going on in our souls- our mind, will, and emotions.

Our spirits are yearning for communion with God and Jesus died for us to be with Him and know Him, but what is the answer for us today? How do we do that?

I believe the answer lies in the PRACTICING of the presence of God in simple moments in the car, washing dishes, changing diapers, taking a break from our computers, throughout our day taking a moment to remember we are walking in His presence.

I work in politics where our souls are always getting attacked with pride, anger, and fear. If we, as Christians in this field, don’t deal with our souls, we will turn into horrible, prideful, angry, and controlling people. It is not pleasant. In whatever field you are in, I am sure you can list out the enemies of your soul.

I recently ran for Congress and found joy and peace in the midst of the hardest six months of my life. My testimony at the end of it all was that God is so faithful to our hearts in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. He was faithful to protect my soul as I daily and minute by minute turned my heart toward Him.

Last week, I picked up a book from my shelf in my office that has always inspired me - but even more so this week than ever before - The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I have consumed this book again this week because I believe this is really the fight for all of us in the Body of Christ in our generation.

Will we steal away with God in our hearts during the most turbulent moments of our lives?

Will we cut through all the voices and the noise and seek God in the stillness of our hearts?

Will we fulfill the desire and prayer of Jesus in John 17:24 that we would be “with Him where He is”?

Will we really admit that He is our ultimate source and if we don’t have His presence with us, we can’t do anything?

Now is the time to connect with God like never before and we will have to be intentional and militant to see it happen in our lives.

Brother Lawrence (1614-1691) was a just a lay brother who served at the Carmelite monastery in the 17th century. He washed dishes and later in life repaired sandals. He sought God in the midst of his simple work and became known for his great peace, his contentment in life, and his words of wisdom concerning how to access the presence of God every day at any moment.

I think we here in our modern culture have something to learn from Brother Lawrence. I have been convicted and provoked by this simple man’s wholehearted love for God again.

Every day I will be posting on my FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages a quote from Brother Lawrence and then I will give you some practical instruction or a story from my own life on how I #PracticeThePresence.

He said such profound things as “Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.”

Or “Let what may come of it, however many be the days remaining to me, I will do all things for the LOVE of God”

He didn’t need to retreat to find God because he found Him every day in the noise of His kitchen doing hundreds of dishes. He would turn his thoughts toward the Living God and commune with Him in prayer and meditation of the Word of God.

As I have said many times, being in the presence of Jesus is what we are going to be doing for all eternity- we might as well practice it now.

The four living creatures and the elders in the book of Revelation never get tired of saying “Holy, Holy, Holy” because they see again and again and again another aspect of His beauty. They cannot stop because they have seen Him- the beautiful Son of God.

Will you go on a journey with me for as many days as we want to - discovering the words of this simple monk who learned the art of practicing the Presence of God?

We are going to #PracticeThePresence. I have much to learn. 

After thirty-one years of walking with God, I believe this is the essence of the Christian life and the place where true joy and peace is found. If we don’t have JESUS, we don’t have anything. I am by NO means perfect and I am more hungry for God now than every before. 

Let’s #PracticeThePresence together and discover more about the beauty of Jesus than we ever imagined.

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On Facebook, you can click on my profile and go to the “Following” button and click “See it First” and it will jump to the top of your newsfeed everyday.

On Twitter, you can follow me, then click on the BELL on the lefthand side of the Follow button and click on it to get account notifications on “all tweets”.

On Instagram, you can follow me then click for notifications of posts or add me to your close friends list so you see the posts everyday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Time to Weep

By Bunni Pounds

I was a puddle of tears on the floor about a month ago. Finally feeling, finally letting go of the walls, and finally letting the tears flow down my cheeks.

Weeping over the great tragedy of abortion in our generation. Weeping over the 881,000 babies killed in the womb in America just in 2017 and the millions upon millions killed over the last decade. Weeping over the seduction of this age that speaks in the ears of women and men to pursue the ending of a pregnancy - a LIFE.

You might think I am over reacting. You might say, “Bunni, there are so many important issues out there.” But really- there is not.

Our silence is killing us. Our complacency and unfeeling hearts are killing our national conscience.

We have a gnawing knot in our stomach when we read a story on abortion, when we see another statistic, and when we read about the new laws passed in New York or Illinois. We think to ourselves  - we should be bothered. The pink lights on the top of the World Trade Center celebrating the new law passed in NY that gives access to abortion through the 3rd trimester- should bother us.

This tragedy of life lost in the womb in our nation should make us weep, but we can’t  - because our hearts are so numb to it all. It is just another story line, news crisis, or issue that demands our attention where we feel helpless and powerless to do anything about it.

Over this last month - this thought kept pounding through my heart - IT IS A TIME TO WEEP.

“A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4

I have studied this subject for so many years. I wrote papers about it in high school and later in college. I have spoken many many times about the #1 issue that drove me to get involved in politics in the first place. The issue was the protection of human life from conception to natural death - but here I sat and I couldn’t shed a tear over the horrible cavern of death that we are continuing to fall down into as a nation.

Then I cried out in prayer, “God, give me Your heart. Break through my hardened heart and let me see this issue as You see it. I can’t go on just seeing these babies’ murders with my intellectual mind. Let me really see the hearts of the wounded women who have been scarred deeply by their decision to end a pregnancy. Let me see the hearts of the men who paid for abortions and still carry that burden back in the depth of their consciousness. Let me see the wounds that you want to heal in this nation. Let me see the ravaging of our nation by the sin of abortion. Let me see Your heart to heal individual hearts, to save this nation from judgement, and to see the precious babies’ souls that are with You."

Then I wept. And wept. And wept. The walls finally feel down around my heart and I could see.

It is a time to weep. It is time for us to feel again the stain of abortion on the moral fabric of our nation.

Let’s pray this prayer together and ask God for tears, for a heart that feels, and a cry that will change our lives and the future of our nation.

Jesus, I plead Your Blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. God, end abortion and send revival to America.

Here is my written prayer on 1/24/19. Please pray it with me.

Oh that we would fear the Lord
That we would see You truly as You are
High and lifted up

Forgive the people of New York
But us as well
That we don’t stand up and protect human life
At EVERY stage of growth in the womb
That we don’t esteem the creation of God
The God breathed soul
As something to be valued and cherished
Forgive us for destroying
our future generations
by murdering the unborn

God, raise us up as warriors to step up
For the unborn at EVERY stage of development and with every weakness

And that we would be mothers and fathers
of a generation who are born
who need a moral compass,
A hand up of compassion
Relief from terror, oppression, and injustice

Let us be a people who values LIFE
in our beautiful nation in the years to come
Let us serve the Lord with fear
And rejoice with trembling
Putting our trust firmly in You
Jesus, You are the Son of God

And our only HOPE. 

After you pray and feel again, find some way to plug into the answer of your prayers. 

This weekend there is a day of mourning being called in New York. Check it out!

Plug into a pro-life activism group, support the crisis pregnancy center near you, talk to young people about this issue, and keep crying out for new manna to keep in the fight for LIFE. We will not stop.