Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Women in Politics

The first women arrived in Congress from Montana in 1917. Women received the right to vote as an amendment in 1920, the same year America outlawed liquor (repealed in 1933). Today, there are 99 women, about a fifth of the entire Congress of 535 (100 in Senate and 435 in House). It represents a third of all the women who have ever served (298). Today, Democrats tend to elect more, with 16 out of 20 women senators and 60 of the 79 House members.

There is considerable leadership among the women’s delegation, with Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House. Diana DeGette is in second position in terms of seniority as a Democratic Chief Deputy Whip. The Senate has numerous women in leadership positions, such as Dianne Feinstein, head of the Intelligence Committee; Barbara Boxer, Environment; and Patty Murray, Budget.

Also, a large number of women are in key senate battleground races. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mary Landrieu (VA) and Kay Hagan (NC) are Democrats fighting for re-election. Women challengers include Republican Joni Ernst in Iowa and Democrat Alison Grimes of Kentucky who is trying to defeat Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In 2014 in Colorado, a woman was selected as the Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee (Jill Repella), Cynthia Coffman is the Republican Attorney General nominee and Democrat Betsy Markey is running for State Treasurer. About a third of local municipal officials (mayors and councilpersons) are women. About a quarter of all state legislators nationwide are women. Colorado’s 41 out of 100 is the highest percentage among all 50 states.

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