By Marisa Rivera.
This has been an extraordinary year for women running for office. The current political climate has propelled a record number of women to run for office, including Latinas and veterans. As I am writing this article, nothing but pride, inspiration and excitement overcomes me. Women have broken every record at the state legislative level, as well as in gubernatorial, congressional and senate races.
Just like the #MeToo Movement and #TimesUP Movement has amplified women’s voices this year, our political climate has energized and empowered women to come to the forefront and run for office at record numbers to restore the heart and moral compass of this great nation.
A whopping 3,379 women ran for state legislative seats, surpassing the previous record by 730 candidates according to the Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). Twenty-three women ran for seats in the Senate and 11 won. Two hundred and thirty-nine women ran for Congress and 106 won seat in the House, and 16 women ran in gubernatorial races in 17 states and nine won. (CAWP & The Brookings Institution). The slate of nominees was the most diverse in history including, black, white, Latina, Asian, American Indian, Muslim, LGBT, veterans and they range from 29 years old to senior citizens.
Women veterans ran for Congress in record numbers too. They want to continue their service to this country by running for office. Women like, Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran who won in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District race; Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot won in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District; LTC Amy McGrath, ret. former Marine fighter pilot, ran for (Congress-District 6, KY); Gina Ortiz Jones (TX), former Captain and Intelligence Officer in the Air Force, ran for Congress, District 23rd, TX and Elaine Luria (VA), a nuclear engineer and Navy Commander, ret. ran for VA 2nd district and won and many others. (Washington Post & USA Today).
They have protected and defended our country with their uniform and now, they hope to bring their fighting spirit to Washington, D.C., to keep serving their country and putting country over party to preserve the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Latinas also made history for both parties. Latinas that broke records include: Jeanette Nuñez, the first Latina Lieutenant Governor for the State of Florida and the highest-ranking Latina in the history of Florida politics; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the age 29, and two Latina Congressional representatives, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, the first Texas Latinas elected to Congress.
America is hungry for a refreshing new leadership, and women are rising across the country to change their underrepresentation. Women are stepping up to lead and have their voice and views be heard. Women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population, we need to work towards 51 percent representation in Congress as well. The results of this election are not going to turn around women’s underrepresentation in American politics drastically, but it is the beginning of a well overdue inclusion of women in American politics. The results slightly raise the overall female representation in Congress from 20 percent to 23 percent. It is going to take multiple elections with the same engagement and enthusiasm to change the landscape, but it is a great kick start to the marathon we must run!
Today is a new day in America. The leadership of women of all backgrounds, will change the landscape of America, reminding everyone that time is up, and our turn is NOW. Let’s get to work!
Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant. Marisa@MpowermentWorks.com.
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