Kea Sherman is a power woman who isn’t afraid to take on multiple ventures, which is what attracted us to this babe in the first place. From running a law firm, founding feminist political action committee in Louisiana, to being a mom and running for office, we wanted to hear more about how she does it all.
Kea founded the Sherman Law Firm in 2010 where she represents clients ranging from personal injury to commercial litigation. She also acts as general counsel to several businesses in the entertainment and hospitality industries. She co-founded Les Femmes PAC in 2014 with LaTanja Silvester and in 2019, her passion for New Orleans and the state of Louisiana motivated Kea to run for the Louisiana Legislature in House District 98. As if that wasn’t enough, Kea currently serves and has served on multiple boards including the Board of Directors of Kingsley House.
We got a chance to get to know Kea a little better and ask some questions about Les Femmes PAC, a much-needed initiative in Louisiana to elect more Democratic women.
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve through Les Femmes PAC?
The goal of Les Femmes PAC is to help elect state and local officials that are more representative of Louisiana’s population. For instance, 67% of elected officials in our state are white men, despite only making up 29% of the population. We need representation that more accurately reflects the population of Louisiana. Les Femmes PAC is doing the work to build a bench of future leaders, who will be more responsive to the needs of our entire community.
67% of elected officials in our state are white men, despite only making up 29% of the population.
What successes have you been able to achieve through Les Femmes so far?
Numerous bills affecting women’s rights failed in recent state legislative sessions. Coordinated attempts to make Louisiana the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment failed in the Senate. Lawmakers failed to make progress on minimum wage, paid leave, equal pay for women and a host of other issues affecting women, workers, and families. In response, a record number of women signed up to run for the Louisiana House and State Senate, signaling a sea change in a state that consistently ranks last in quality of life indicators for women. Delivering on its mission to change the face of politics in Louisiana, Les Femmes PAC has chosen to officially endorse 13 candidates running for state and local offices. Les Femmes PAC is the first committee of its kind in the state and is on track to back women in a wide range of 2019 races with campaign dollars. Since launching in 2018, we have supported Democratic women running in other state and local races.
How does Les Femmes choose who to endorse if there is more than one democratic woman running for a particular position?
The PAC is providing financial backing and other grassroots support to women running in districts with a high potential to be flipped, those who are the sole Democratic women in a race, and incumbents facing opposition. Because this was a foreseeable issue, LFP does not endorse when there is more than one Democratic woman in a race. If it’s a race that we are particularly interested in, we will check back in during the run off to see if things have changed. We also do not endorse in judicial races because in Louisiana, women are well represented on the bench. Instead, LFP focuses its efforts and resources on Democratic women candidates running for other state and local office where female representation is low.
You recently ran for the Louisiana Legislature and were unfortunately defeated (at least by another woman, right?!?). Do you plan on running for office again in the future?
Yes, I am very happy a woman was elected to represent HD98 even if it wasn’t me. At the moment, I have no plans to run for office again. I always advise potential candidates to first determine what they are passionate about. Then, you run for the office that will provide a vehicle for that passion. I’ve done that already. ‘
What advice do you have for dynamic women like yourself who are balancing so many things at once?
The most important advice I can give is to know your limits and be honest with yourself about your commitments. It’s hard to turn down opportunities, but there’s a time commitment with each organization or cause you align yourself with. Make sure it’s something you’re really passionate about it so you can give it 100%.
The most important advice I can give is to know your limits and be honest with yourself about your commitments.
What’s your favorite place to dine in New Orleans (when we are not in pandemic)?
My husband, Neal Bodenheimer, recently opened my new favorite Mexican restaurant named Vals on Freret Street. Despite opening during a pandemic, Vals is rocking and rolling!
Your favorite city to visit?
Paris, Carmel, CA and NYC (in that order)
Is there anything specific keeping you sane during the pandemic?
Exercise and margaritas (not necessarily in that order )
How can women who want to support your mission get involved in Les Femmes?
There are plenty of ways to get involved in Les Femmes PAC. In fact, we are launching a new fundraising initiative that will bring women from across the state together. Supporters will be invited to contribute at whatever level they are comfortable. From the Queen Bees to the Honey Bees, together we will make a difference in our candidate’s races. More to come on our new fundraising circles! Although, Covid is challenging the more traditional forms of outreach like canvassing and events, we plan to continue supporting our endorsed candidates through remote phone banking, text messages and other innovative means of outreach. In this climate, you have to be nimble and imaginative to survive!