Levo League put together a list of Ten Women to Watch in Politics This Year.
“We felt it was important to put a special focus on women in politics because though we have amazing women in office currently, the numbers are still not where we want them to be. There are currently 98 women in Congress, 20 in the Senate and 78 in the House. While this is a historically high number, it still only represents 18 percent of Congress. Women hold 22.1 percent of available statewide executive positions, down from 27.6 percent 10 years ago, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. A recent survey also showed that most women are disengaged when it comes to politics and this is partly because they don’t see themselves represented. So this week we will be making a special push to highlight women that are in office, issues you should care about and how you can get involved.” -Meredith Lepore, Levo League
First let’s take a look at 10 great women in politics that you need to keep your eye on.
Boulder City Councilwoman Kathleen Collins Becker — known to most as KC —became the state representative in House District 13, which includes part of Boulder County and all of Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand and Jackson counties, just this past October. The Democrat beat out two other candidates to win the House seat held by Rep. Claire Levy.
Becker is finishing up her four-year term on the Boulder City Council, where she was the council’s representative on the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority and was the city’s representative to the Denver Regional Council of Governments. “I’ve known KC for several years now, and I think very highly of her,” Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, whose district includes part of Boulder, said in a news release. “It’s terrific that House District 13 will continue to be represented by a strong woman.”
What else can we say about Clinton? She is a tremendous woman, a political powerhouse (TIME even recently wondered if she was possible of being stopped, but why would we want to?) Hopefully she is not just toying with us and 2016 will be the year of Hillary Clinton.
Love is a game changer. This woman could be the first African American woman to join Congress. She lost her run in 2012 for Utah’s 4th congressional district seat, but this could be her year as Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (who she only lost to by 800 votes) is not running this year. Love “brought the house down” at the Republican National Committee convention in the summer of 2012 in Tampa, according to The Washington Post, telling the story of her Haitian immigrant parents as an argument for smaller government.
This single mother of two was just elected to the Colorado State Senate in December. According to The Denver Post, she looks forward to making an impact on education, economic development and transportation.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
McMorris Rodgers set a record when she became the first member of Congress to give birth while in office. Rodgers is the fourth highest ranking Republican in the House and chairwoman of the House Republican Conference and she will be the messenger in chief to Republican House members, a role that has also been served by John Boehner, Jack Kemp, Mike Pence and Dick Cheney.
Rachel Haot (née Sterne)
Though she is just 30, this woman is already a seasoned veteran. She has brought New York politics into the age of technology. After serving as Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York for three years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, from January 2011 to December 2013 she now serves as the Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Secretary of Technology for New York State under Governor Cuomo’s administration. Bloomberg said, “The governor made a very smart hire here. Rachel helped us set the standard for how a municipal government can engage the people it serves through digital platforms,” the mayor added, “and her work has made New York City the digital model for cities across the country and around the world.”
Westlund announced her candidacy for the 7th Congressional District in January in Wisconsin. She will be running against incumbent GOP Rep. Sean Duffy, who is also a reality TV star. After growing up in a military family, Westlund settled in Wisconsin where she went on to work with a local nonprofit organization focused on sustainable community and economic development. As a small business owner, she is working to build a strong local food system that will support family farms for generations to come. In January, The Washington Post called her race against Duffy “one to watch”.
Talk about a stunning resume. If this five term Congresswoman from Pennsylvania wins the primary and beats Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, she would be the first female chief executive of Pennsylvania ever.
Gelman is the spokeswoman for Scott Stringer—Manhattan borough president and now New York City Comptroller-elect. Stringer told The New York Times, “She was completely immersed in every aspect of the campaign,” he said, “driving the daily message and dealing with the incoming from these folks, dealing with the constant negativity, which frankly surprised me, coming from Democrats.”
Her resume is outstanding (she also worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as an intern), some people may know her better as the character of Audrey on “Girls.” The show is written, produced and stars her best friend Lena Dunham. In fact, the character of ambitious, successful and somewhat neurotic Marnie is based on Gelman.
There is so much to say about this woman that we probably can’t do her justice (that is why you must watch her Office Hours on Jan. 30!) The New York Times, Time and The New Yorker are all calling Gillibrand, who has been a Senator since 2009, a breakout star. In addition to fighting for victims of military rape and speaking out on the birth control debate, the young Senator is also a proponent of getting more women into politics. One of those women she would like to see fill a certain spot is Hillary Clinton in 2016. Gillibrand has promised she will do everything she can for her if she decides to run. She is also the force behind the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the bill that helped 9/11 first responders get compensation for their subsequent health issues. “Sen. Gillibrand has proven herself to be an absolute . . . force in the United States Senate,” said Assemb. Keith Wright, co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party. “Kirsten has delivered by working across the aisle.”