She is running for Congress. And she is here today for an interview. Please welcome Ms. Jan Perry.
The former LA City Councilwoman is now a congressional candidate for California’s CD 37, based in Los Angeles County. Ms. Perry kindly answers questions on a range of topics, from Serena Williams to ageism and stereotypes hurting women.
Disclosure: This sponsored post comes as the 2022 US Congress elections quickly approach. It is an exciting time!
Interview with Jan Perry
To begin the interview, I asked Ms. Perry about Serena Williams, whom she has publicly commented on following Williams’ retirement announcement.
How has watching Serena Williams throughout her career impacted you?
Having just witnessed the culmination of Serena Williams’ historic career, I am reminded of her continuing stance against sexist, racist, and ageist naysayers. I am newly energized and focused to continue my fight against restrictive, condescending stereotypes used to denigrate and impede women–particularly mature women–as they strive for success in their chosen pursuits.
What do you most admire about Serena Williams?
Serena and Venus Williams’ success is founded upon athleticism, courage, and determination. Serena has become the greatest of all time in her sport.
She and her sister have won innumerable championships and have consequently inspired present and future generations in the sporting world. Equally remarkable is the longevity of their careers, as they have continued to compete through their teens, twenties, thirties, and now (in Venus’ case) forties.
The Williams sisters are remarkable. Earlier, you used the word “mature.” In your opinion, what challenges do mature women face at work?
I have and always will champion diversity and inclusion for my past and future constituents, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, or ethnic background. I seek an atmosphere where inspiration and ability–not age–are the most important factors for success in all professions, where qualified individuals still seek to work or compete.
Well said. What are some changes necessary to overcome workplace ageism and sexism?
We must create environments where women are encouraged to succeed and be recognized for their abilities and experience at all ages and phases of their lives. Notably, my focus is not limited to women. No human being of any race or gender should be judged, denied opportunities, or passed over for advancement based solely upon age.
Do not be defined or denied your rightful place due to your age; rather, demand to be held accountable based upon your abilities. Talent and life experience are to be appreciated, not discounted, as time goes on.
What stereotypes do you feel are hurting women?
In many industries, there is an element of doubting or disparaging women who choose to continue to pursue their goals and uphold their core values into middle age and beyond. We must create environments where women are encouraged to succeed and recognized for their abilities and experience at all ages and phases of their lives.
Recognition, yes! Tell me, how did you originally get into politics, Ms. Jan Perry?
When I was a young girl in 1965, my father, Samuel Perry, was elected mayor of Woodmere, Ohio. My mother, Bettie Perry, succeeded him.
My parents led by example and believed in a future where I could become a leader and game changer based upon my abilities and personal qualities alone, unencumbered by unfair and restrictive prejudices. I upheld their beliefs from the time I worked my first job in public service to the present time.
What political positions have you held?
I served as a Los Angeles City Councilwoman for twelve years from 2001- 2013. During that time, I was the leader of the City’s Economic and Workforce Development.
I coauthored Proposition O, a clean water bond, which was designed not only to protect the environment and our water source but to rebuild our infrastructure. It enabled the creation of a multi-use facility that brought two wetlands in South Los Angeles in areas that were previously blight.
I also led catalytic projects such as LA Live, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and the new Police Administrative Building. I brought in $15 billion in investment, $52 million in net new tax revenue for the City of Los Angeles, and approximately 90,000 full-time jobs.
I prevailed in my efforts on downtown projects such as AEG, garnering city financial aid and favorable zoning for Staples Center, subsidies for new hotels, and my support was crucial to the L.A. Live complex of theaters and restaurants.
You have accomplished a lot. What is your next political goal?
I am excited, and I’m on a mission to go to Congress to represent Los Angeles’ 37th District. I intend to facilitate large-scale change when I get to Washington and create dynamic relationships between private and public partners, assuring momentum and implementation to achieve the vision.
Specifically, I am focused on representing the people of my district in matters of affordable housing, healthcare, the economy, social justice, planning and land use, the environment, women’s rights, and fighting for our democracy. As a voting member of the House of Representatives, my vote will also be the voice of all Americans who care about the aforementioned issues.
I am a subject matter expert in local, state, and federal government operations and a non-profit leader. I’ve influenced public policy issues development and garnered resources and support. This mission will continue with even greater impact once I am elected to congress.
Where do you see your career in the next ten years?
I will continue to be a public servant and serve as a bold and tenacious leader dedicated to causes that move our country forward.
Anything else you want to add, Ms. Jan Perry?
Women don’t expire, we evolve. I am deeply rooted in what has to be done because of my relationship with people and communities. The only way to be relevant is to listen to what people say, understand what they need, and make an all-out effort to fulfill their dreams.
Thank you for being here!
I appreciate Ms. Perry taking the time to be here. She brings up many great points about overcoming ageism, sexism, and stereotypes. She talks of positive change, commends Selena Williams, and looks forward to a better future.
Top photo: Ms. Jan Perry, her parents, and her sister. Photo courtesy of Jan Perry.