The force that was May Hutton erupted from humble beginnings. The orphaned girl was raised by her blind grandfather. Her passion for issues was cemented early when she accompanied her grandfather to political meetings in her native Ohio in the mid-1800s. Hutton credited him with encouraging her not to limit her aspirations.
As a young woman, Hutton supported herself as a dishwasher and cook in Idaho mining camps. She met and married her husband there. Levi Hutton was active in the labor movement, and May also became a champion for the rights of mineworkers. Fighting for her gender’s Washington womens’ right to vote was a natural extension of her passion for social justice.
When the Huttons moved to Spokane after striking it rich with a silver mine investment, May became involved with the Washington Equal Suffrage Association. Thanks to her and other suffragists, in 1910 this state’s women won the right to vote – a full decade ahead of the country overall. Hutton ran for office only once. She came within 80 votes of winning a seat in the Idaho state legislature in 1904. Hutton attributed her defeat to the $20,000 the mine owners had raised for her opponent. One hundred and twelve years later, money continues to be an obstacle for womXn candidates, especially womXn of color. They face running campaigns most often against male candidates or incumbents who are seen as more viable simply because they are men. WomXn candidates also struggle against the reality of who the majority of political donors are: white men. Men statistically give more to political campaigns than womXn, wherein they give most often to incumbents--of which over 60% are men in Washington. To promote financial contributions to womXn candidates, the National WomXn’s Political Caucus created a society to encourage donations from supporters in the mid-1980s. It’s fitting that this society proudly bears May Hutton’s name.
We may have had the vote in this state for 106 years, but we still don’t have anything close to parity with men in our city halls, legislature, judicial benches and other elected offices. The May Hutton Society is working hard to change that.
Every year, NWPC-WA invites donors to celebrate May Hutton's legacy through the May Hutton Society. The event supports womXn trailblazers running for office, broken glass ceilings, and the NWPC-WA’s 2020 campaign fund. And those dollars are powering real change in our community.
In a typical year, we would host an event around this important work. This year, we'll send you a special and unique thank you gift from the Caucus.
This year, more than 80 womXn have filed to run for office - a record number of womXn and outpacing the number of men filing. And even in times of COVID-19, we've continued to train womXn through our weekly webinars and provide support. And we do this with an all-volunteer team. Your financial donations help us go beyond the trainings and will help womXn WIN in 2020.
If we are serious about achieving parity between men and womXn in elected office, we need to start by voting for womXn candidates not only with our voices, but also with our dollars. The money the NWPC-WA raises makes a difference in the campaigns of the dozens of womXn it supports each year in our state. Money equals clout, and the May Hutton Society has been helping fuel Washington’s womXn candidates for some 30 years.
Let’s honor May Hutton’s worthy legacy, keep womXn moving forward in 2020 and beyond, and bolster the ranks of her namesake society. In doing so, we’ll boost the NWPC-WA’s campaign fund, and the chances of success for womXn candidates.