Actress Geena Davis to speak in Newport

Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner plans to welcome actress Geena Davis and female politicians to town later this month for a fundraising event benefiting a women's commission.

Gardner and Davis will be joined by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, U.S. National Committee on UN Women President Maggie Forster Schmitz, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett in support of the California Commission on the Status of Women.

The California National Organization for Women is co-hosting the Feb. 22 event at the Fairmont hotel, 4500 MacArthur Blvd.

Due to budget cutbacks, if private funding isn't raised, the commission could shut its doors after 47 years.

"Obviously, it's very difficult at these times, but the support for women's issues — particularly working women and women with families — is very important," Gardner said. "Hopefully as we juggle all of the claims on the state budget we'll find a way, perhaps, to be more efficient with it but not to eliminate such an important thing."

The elected officials are invited to speak about gender equality. The commission is the only state agency that campaigns for gender equality, according to a press release. The group was created in 1965 by then-Gov. Pat Brown, father of Gov. Jerry Brown, and its motto is "No Woman Forgotten."

The commission holds public hearings all over California to give women the chance to voice their concerns. The group also examines bills, holds briefings for policymakers and is an important source of information about and for women via its website,

"When decision-makers understand how their actions impact men and women differently, they are better prepared to make sound choices," Sen. and Commissioner Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) said in the release. "Our government exists for the people and by the people, yet over half of the people have been historically underrepresented, undervalued and denied. That history can't be eliminated and neither should the Commission on the Status of Women."

Tickets are $125 per person. Sponsorships range from $1,000 to $5,000. A VIP reception starts at 5:30 p.m., with the general reception at 6:30.

For more information about the reception, visit the invitation website at

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