Next week is a big election for our town! Tonight’s Meet a Moms, Jenna Lowe and Emily Goodman, started The Voting Moms to get more people out to vote and to do so in an informed way. Their website and email newsletter offers a non-partisan analysis and a research-based primer for how to vote your community values in local elections.
Jenna and Emily share with us how they started this genius newsletter, why it’s so important to vote, and some of the key issues facing our town in this year’s election.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally?
Emily Goodman – I’m a mom to my 13 year daughter and 11 year old son. I also have 2 adorable pups – Champ and Chickpea. My most important role is as mom, but I’m also a lawyer and consultant specializing in fintech. (I’m an actual happy lawyer!) I spend lots of time on the sidelines of my kids’ game, and generally spend a lot of time in Greenwich now that I’m primarily working from home. I’m on the board of Pitch Your Peers, a local organization made up of some awesome Greenwich women – it’s a bit like Shark Tank for charity. For those interested in new technologies or angel investing, I am part of two great local groups. The first Monday of every month, you can find me co-hosting CryptoMondays. For real, it’s a thing – and I’d love to have more Greenwich moms join (no prior knowledge needed). Also, I’m a member of Tidal River, a CT-based women’s angel investment group. We invest in women-led companies and underrepresented founders.
Jenna Lowe – I have 17 and 13 year old daughters, a 10 year old son and a sweet and crazy hound dog named Banks. I have a sleepwear company based in NYC that makes comfy pajamas. Our biggest account is QVC. In between looking at prints, colors and samples, I love to run, ride my Peloton, read and listen to any and every podcast. I’m a terrible cook but a secret foodie, which I know makes zero sense. My happy place is on a beach (anywhere!) with my family.
Emily – I have to note that Jenna’ pajamas are THE BEST. Cozy, comfy, and SO SO soft.
Where do you live in Greenwich and what do you love about Greenwich and your neighborhood?
Emily – I’ve lived in Riverside for 10 years and couldn’t be more grateful to live in such a magical community. I love much about Greenwich – the beaches, the “small town” feel of Old Greenwich town, and the beauty of both the old trees and the houses. Most of all, it’s the people and our community. I’m continually amazed at how much people here, especially parents, support each other.
Jenna – I live in Old Greenwich. Every time I walk Banks I think to myself , “how lucky am I to live in this beautiful place?!” Old Greenwich is the perfect town. From its picturesque center to its wonderful restaurants to Tod’s Point. I couldn’t ask for a better place to live. What’s not to love?
Please tell us about The Voting Moms?
We are just regular moms! In between driving to practices, spending time with friends and our families, cooking dinner and trying to feed people in between kids’ activities, working at our respective jobs, and all the other regular mom stuff, The Voting Moms just happen to have a passion for civic engagement. Our core mission from day one has never changed: (i) get more people out to vote and (ii) make it easier for people to get informed about candidates and issues. We consider everything we might say or do through that lens. Our hypothesis and hope is that if we achieve that mission, we get a moderate and bipartisan local government. We support candidates of any party (Republican, Democrat, Unaffiliated, etc.) so long as we can validate – based on voting records, public statements, and other research – that they will work collaboratively and in a bipartisan way. Voter turnout, especially amongst people with school-aged kids, is abysmally low. We can’t expect our representatives to represent our voices as parents if we don’t vote in an informed way. We know how hard it is to break through the “noise” and really understand where candidates stand on key local issues. It’s our mission to help with that and we take that responsibility very seriously. Feedback from friends and the community broadly has been remarkable. Our approach resonates with people with lots of different views. We take our cues from the community. We simply talk to people about what’s on their mind. As we find certain topics bubbling up to the surface, we then focus on that for our newsletters.
How and why did you start The Voting Moms?
Jenna – The Voting Moms came together quite organically. We first met via our daughters’ lacrosse. Funny enough – the initial connection was me asking Emily how she liked her Kia Telluride. At the time, it was impossible to get a car during Covid and I was desperately looking for options. Emily became known as “Telluride Mom”, which is still how she’s saved in my phone today!
Emily and I then bumped into each other while running, and we noted all of the election signs in Binney Park. We agreed that nothing about a candidate can be gleaned from a sign. And truly, anyone can make a sign about anything and plant it in the town square. We also discovered a shared passion for politics, policy and activism. We immediately knew we wanted to do more to help our friends cut through the promotion and get to the core of our local candidates and what they stood for. The Voting Moms was born! (Also, I loved the distraction of talking about the local elections with Emily because she makes me sprint hills with her otherwise.)
What are your backgrounds and how does that help contribute to The Voting Moms?
Emily – I’m a Southern girl like Jenna, though not as far South. I grew up in MD, then made my way north to Greenwich with stops in Philly for college and NYC for law school and living for 14 years. I moved to Greenwich in 2014. Once I saw Tod’s Point and the sun setting on the Mianus River from what is now my house, I was IN. Everywhere I’ve lived I’ve been fortunate to be in strong communities where the value placed on social capital is high. Everyone has something to contribute, just not at the same time and the skills and offerings are different. Our work with The Voting Moms is driven by our desire to contribute based on our passion and skills. Our beige flag is our obsession with collecting and analyzing facts and data, and then connecting that analysis to real-world implications. (We’re lots of fun at cocktail parties!)
Professionally, I started my legal career at a law firm, Schulte Roth & Zabel. From there I spent a decade at American Express, where I was in-house counsel supporting digital innovation work. Since then, I’ve lawyered at smaller, earlier stage fintechs and I’m now a Partner at a consulting firm that advises fintechs. My career has been focused on the legal and regulatory aspects of digital financial services. It’s a neat way to lawyer because I get to build all sorts of cool financial services products that people use in their everyday lives.
Jenna– I am a Southern girl, born and raised in North Carolina. I moved to New York to work in my 20’s, and I met my husband at my first job in the city. The rest is history. Our family moved cross country several times and ended up settling in NYC and raising our kids there until Covid hit. I can’t believe we hung in for so long. When we moved to Old Greenwich, I just felt like I was in heaven. It was beautiful, peaceful, and friendly. We have lived in many places, and I think diversity of opinion and political persuasion is so important. Greenwich is diverse and full of passionate people. This has allowed The Voting Moms to flourish. People want to talk to us as much as we want to get information from them. It’s a conversation, and we love it.
Why is it so important to vote?
Because screaming into the void doesn’t work! Did you know that only 30% of the town votes in municipal elections? Even fewer parents of school-aged parents vote. It’s not an exaggeration to say that every vote counts. If you look at recent town elections, candidates have won or lost based on a literal handful of votes. With so much information flying at us, we all to put our head in the sand and throw our hands up and think nothing we do matters. But we promise: quite the opposite is true – intentional voting with an understanding of what’s at stake for our town is the very backbone of democracy.
What are some of the key issues we should be keeping in mind as we go into next week’s election?
The state of our public schools is without a doubt the most important issue for all of Greenwich, whether or not you have kids in public schools. The health and strength of our public schools is core to what makes Greenwich special, and a big reason people move to Greenwich (it’s a meaningful contributor to all of our property values). This year, it is the literal infrastructure of the public schools that hangs in the balance. Framed more broadly, we hope to help voters understand there are massive differences between candidates and how they have voted, or would vote, to invest in school and town infrastructure. Furthermore, we’ve identified important differences in how candidates would finance and fund these large projects. We want our kids to be safe and healthy in our schools, and we want representatives who will invest in Greenwich. This has been one of our biggest motivators.
Another motivation for us is the need for moderate, bipartisan leadership. We know that what is happening nationally in politics is also happening here. Unfortunately we are not immune to the effect of extremists who want to break government and impart conspiracy theories and misinformation. The Voting Moms hope to reduce extremism on all sides, and instead ensure that we have a town government where people meet in the middle to achieve the best possible results for our community. For this reason, we broke from tradition a bit this year and endorsed a specific group of moderate candidates for RTM across all districts. You can find this list on our website at www.thevotingmoms.com. The idea is that this group won’t agree on everything (that’s a good thing!), but they will work collaboratively and responsibly.
Where can we find more information from you about this November’s election?
We send out emails, which we then post on our website (thevotingmoms.com). Interested readers can sign up to be on our mailing list. We try very hard not to overwhelm our readers with too many emails from us. We’ve also been thrilled to get a boost from Greenwich Free Press, which wrote a great article about The Voting Moms a few weeks ago.
How do we sign up for your newsletter?
Please do sign up! You can do so via our website, or by emailing us at [email protected]. Or ask us when we’re in line at the bagel shop or the sidelines of a lacrosse or baseball game. Truly, anything goes as we just want to share information with anyone who is interested!
If you haven’t voted before, or don’t know where or how to vote, what is the best resource to find out?
Good news – you can still get registered online (up to Oct. 31) or in-person at Town Hall up to the date of the election. Info is here. Click here to verify your registration status as well as confirm your district and polling location.
What do you like to do to relax/have fun for yourself and as a family?
Emily – I love to be outside at the beach, running and listening to podcasts, and playing soccer with the OGRCC adult league (I must mention: I captained the team that won the OGRCC annual tournament championship this past summer.⚽) I’m also a passionate vegetable gardener. If I’m popping by your house in the summer, I will usually show up with a squash or some tomatoes. As a family we’re pretty simple – beach, hanging at home (trampoline has been the greatest purchase), and hanging out with our dogs. There’s not much that makes me happier than a group of friends and their kids hanging out on my porch and lawn, having some wine and food together.
Jenna – I love to run and exercise. I also love to shop – which is wonderful because part of my job requires me to always be looking at fashion and trends. Fun for our family means traveling together. Whether it’s a road trip to someone’s game or a true vacation, our favorite times are on the road together.
Anything else you would like to share?
We are obsessed with our dogs and would love submissions of everyone’s #votingdogs on our instagram page. We welcome all dog pictures and would love a little story about why you vote! https://www.instagram.com/the_voting_moms/
Also, we help get people Free Babysitting on Election Day! The Voting Moms’ 8th grade daughters and friends will be available to watch people’s kids outside Riverside Elementary on Election Day from 1:45-3:00. I’ll be there to oversee as well. We realize it’s hard for parents with littles to bring them in, and hope this helps get more parents out to vote.
We love to support local businesses. What are your fave places when you are in Greenwich to:
Emily – CFCF or Ada’s, although I’m mainly a tea drinker
Jenna – Gregory’s Coffee on the Ave.
Emily – Running and playing soccer
Jenna – Running around Tod’s or taking barre class at The Water Club.
Go on a date night:
Emily – Sushi, poke bowl, or tacos at Tod’s point
Jenna – Lugano’s or Applausi- Italian all day!
Go out for a girls night
Emily – Outdoor tables at the restaurants on Greenwich Ave. We love the new set-up!
Jenna – Siren is a new fave
Go out to dinner as a family
Emily – Tacos at La Taqueria on the Ave
Jenna – Pizza Post
Get your hair done
Emily – Curly girls, I’ve got you covered! Salon Jolie has incredible curly hair stylists.
Jenna – Hopscotch is great
Get your nails done
Emily – I do my own nails at home at least once a week. Forced “sit and relax” time!
Jenna – Same- I do my own nails. I started during covid and actually enjoy it.
Have fun as a family
Emily – Now that my kids are in middle school, going to the varsity sports games Greenwich High School is so fun! (Although as Mom, I’m no longer allowed to sit with them 🙂).
Jenna – We love seeing movies in the theater as a family. We order the giant Bavarian pretzel and everyone shares.