The Commission on the Status of Women met recently to elect officers and begin exploring issues that they want to pursue in coming months.
Pasco County commissioners established the 15-member commission in September 2016 as an advisory board. The commission will make periodic reports and recommendations on matters that promote women’s issues.
Amanda Colon, president of the Women Lawyers of Pasco Inc., will serve as chairwoman; Krista Covey, SMARTstart Business Incubator director with the Pasco Economic Development Council, as vice chairwoman; and Kelly Mothershead, communications assistant at Pepin Academies in Pasco, as secretary.
Meetings are open to the public.
The next meeting will be June 5 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the county’s Utilities Administration Office, at 19420 Central Blvd., off U.S. 41, in Land O’ Lakes.
“The more public support we have in the community, the more it’s going to help us,” said Colon.
Commission members opted to focus on three umbrella issues of health and safety; education; and, economic prosperity and promotion.
Among health and safety topics are domestic and sexual violence, mental health, women’s health, veteran’s services, and the epidemic of drugs, pills and alcohol.
Education also will focus on drugs and alcohol, but also topics such as financial literacy, and the challenges facing single mothers and grandparents who are caregivers for their grandchildren.
Under economic prosperity and promotion, homelessness, affordable housing, affordable daycare, and promoting women in the political and government arenas are on the list.
Going forward, the commission will decide on priorities and set up committees.
The commission must meet at least six times annually, but can meet more frequently. Meeting dates are scheduled into February 2018, though no meetings are planned for July, September and January.
Efforts to create the commission began more than two years ago with discussions between Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey and Land O’ Lakes attorney Michele Hintson.
More women joined the conversation and took the matter to the county commission.
Research turned up an ordinance from 1979 that had established a women’s commission. But, it is unclear if its members ever met.
The county’s legal staff updated that ordinance to create the current commission.
County commissioners appointed five of the commission members, with 10 selected from area agencies, schools and nonprofits. They are African-American Club of Pasco County Inc.; Hispanic Professional Women’s Association Inc.; Metropolitan Ministries; Pasco Economic Development Council; Pasco-Hernando State College; Saint Leo University; Sunrise of Pasco County Inc.; United Way of Pasco County Inc.; and Women Lawyers of Pasco Inc.
Published May 10, 2017