By Mbafan Anongu
Although women make a greater per centage of the US population, their represenatation in government especially at the centre has been abysmal. In the congress for instance, women occupy less than 20 per cent of the seats. However, the Democratic party appears set to change the demographics of women representation in the forth coming mid-term elections as about 40 per cent of the candidates for various elective positions are women.
Already, 10 of the women that represent the very best in civic leadership have been endorsed by Joseph Biden, former Vice president in the Obama administration and a leading Democratic personality. Below are the frontline women Democratic candidates:
1. Representative Jacky Rosen (NV-3), Senate Candidate in Nevada
Jacky Rosen has lived in Nevada for nearly 40 years. As the first in her family to graduate from college, Jacky worked two jobs and took out student loans to make ends meet. She waited tables over the summers, including at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and she was a proud member of Culinary Workers Union Local 226. When Jacky started her career as a computer programmer and software developer, she broke barriers in the male-dominated tech industry, working for major companies in Nevada. Since being elected to Congress in 2016, she’s been rated one of the most bipartisan freshmen. Jacky is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, working across party lines to try to find common ground and deliver results for Nevadans.
Gina Ortiz Jones, US Congress (TX-23)
Gina Ortiz Jones is an Iraq War veteran, and she served as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Gina advised on intelligence operations in Latin America and Africa, and would later advise on economic and national security issues in the Executive Office of the President. Having served in countries where the middle class was hollowed out, Gina is running for Congress, because she knows a strong middle class is key to our national security.
Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-1)
Abby Finkenauer has a proven track record of standing up for hardworking Iowans and progressive causes. As a State Representative Abby has fought for middle-class values, living wages, and equal rights. She hasn’t shied away from speaking up for ideals she believes in and the people she represents. Abby grew up a daughter of a Union Pipefitter Welder and a Dubuque Community Schools employee. She was raised in a working-class household, and was taught that when there was work to be done, you do it. If elected to Congress, Abby will take the values she learned from her family and her experiences growing up in a blue-collar community to Washington, where she will be the fighter that Iowa’s working families deserve. At age 29, Abby would bring a fresh generation of leadership to Congress. She is running to unseat an extreme GOP Freedom Caucus Member who is the most vulnerable incumbent in the House. IA-01 is one of the top targets for Democrats to pick up this cycle. Abby has been named to the DCCC’s Red to Blue list and she was one of EMILY’s List’s first challenger endorsements of the cycle.
Elissa Slotkin, US Congress (MI-8)
Elissa Slotkin is a third-generation Michigander who has spent her career in national service, serving three tours in Iraq alongside the U.S. military, and working as a national security expert for both Democratic and Republican administrations. She has served at the White House and in top roles at the Pentagon, including as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs under the Obama Administration. She is married to Dave Moore, a former Apache pilot, who retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army after 30 years of service. Slotkin ultimately decided to enter the Congressional race after she saw her opponent, Rep. Mike Bishop, celebrate his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The issue especially hit home for Elissa because her mom, who had a pre-existing condition of breast cancer, died of ovarian cancer in 2011 after struggling for years to get affordable health insurance.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, US Congress (FL-26)
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell immigrated to the United States from Ecuador as a young girl with her mother and sisters in search of opportunities to better their lives. Debbie has early memories of the one-room apartment they lived in, while her mother worked double shifts as a home health care provider and attended school in the evenings and on the weekends to learn English. To help her family make ends meet, Debbie started working the early-morning shift at a doughnut shop starting when she was 15 years old. Debbie has spent the last twenty-years dedicated to improving the lives of underserved communities in Miami-Dade, working for non-profit organizations such as the Hope Center, Zoo Miami Foundation, and the Coral Restoration Foundation, and since 2003 at the College of Health at Florida International University and, since its inception, the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Debbie has worked tirelessly to establish and grow the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program at FIU and improve healthcare access for more Floridians. As someone that has spent her life’s work on expanding access to quality healthcare – impacting the lives of thousands, she knows that it’s inconceivable that politicians in D.C. would consider ripping away healthcare access from our families. Debbie understands we must continue to improve on what’s working and fix what’s broken in our health care system, not abandon people who need it the most.
Representative Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9), Senate Candidate in Arizona
Kyrsten knows firsthand the challenges everyday families face. Born in Tucson, Kyrsten faced tough times as a kid, but through it all she learned the power of hard work and the importance of helping others. Education was Kyrsten’s ticket to a better life, and after graduating, she worked with students and families in Arizona who faced some of the same challenges she did. Now Kyrsten works every day to deliver for Arizona families – expanding access to quality, affordable health care, helping veterans get the benefits they’ve earned, creating good-paying jobs for Arizonans, and keeping Americans safe at home and abroad. Ranked the third most independent member of Congress, Kyrsten is running to serve as an independent voice for Arizona. Kyrsten feels a duty to serve and give back to the communities and country that gave her so much. She got her shot at the American Dream, and she’ll keep working to make sure all Arizonans get theirs too.
Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1), Gubernatorial Candidate in New Mexico
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is a 12th-generation New Mexican who has dedicated her life to serving her community while fighting for families, seniors, and veterans, and building an economy that works for all New Mexicans. In her third term as US Congresswoman, she is currently serving as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and serves on the Budget Committee and the Agriculture Committee. After providing free legal services for seniors with the state bar’s lawyer referral for the elderly program, Michelle served as director of the state agency on aging for 14 years, pioneering innovative practices now used nationwide, including undercover inspections of nursing home facilities. In 2004, Michelle was appointed Secretary of the Department of Health where she expanded the number of school-based health centers and instituted teen pregnancy prevention programs. In Congress, she has passed legislation to help local tribes, public schools and pay for training for law enforcement. She also took on the VA to increase veterans’ access to health care, convinced the Social Security Administration to hire more judges, and held bureaucrats accountable for cleaning up a jet-fuel spill that threatened Albuquerque’s drinking water. Michelle has two daughters, Taylor and Erin; one granddaughter, Avery; and a dog, Kiwi.
Stacey Abrams, Gubernatorial Candidate in Georgia
Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia and former House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School. Dedicated to civic engagement, she founded the New Georgia Project, which submitted more than 200,000 registrations from voters of color between 2014 and 2016. Under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Stacey is the award-winning author of eight romantic suspense novels, which have sold more than 100,000 copies. As co-founder of NOW Account – a financial services firm that helps small businesses grow – Stacey has helped create and retain jobs in Georgia. And through her various business ventures, Stacey has helped employ even more Georgians, including hundreds of young people starting out. And as House Minority Leader, she has worked strategically to recruit, train, elect, and defend Democrats to prevent a Republican supermajority in the House, and has worked across the aisle on behalf of all Georgians. During her tenure, she has stopped legislation to raise taxes on the poor and middle class and to roll back reproductive healthcare. She has brokered compromises that led to progress on transportation, infrastructure, and education. Most recently, she passed legislation to improve the welfare of grandparents and other kin raising children and secured increased funding to support these families. Stacey and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi with three tenets: go to school, go to church, and take care of each other. Despite struggling to make ends meet for their family, her parents made service a way of life for their children – if someone was less fortunate, it was their job to serve that person. This ethic led the family to Georgia. Stacey’s parents attended Emory University to pursue graduate studies in Divinity and become United Methodist ministers. Stacey and her younger siblings attended DeKalb County Schools, and she graduated from Avondale High School.
Xochitl Torres Small, US Congress (NM-2)
Xochitl Torres Small is a water attorney and former staffer for Sen. Tom Udall. After attending college, she returned home to work on then Rep. Tom Udall’s successful run for the Senate. Following his victory, she helped to set up his southern New Mexico district office, which was responsible for serving much of the current 2nd Congressional District. As a Field Representative for Sen. Udall, Xochitl worked on issues ranging from water conservation and infrastructure development to education and health care accessibility. Inspired by her work on water for Sen. Udall, Xochitl left his office to attend law school at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where she specialized in natural resources and conservation. Immediately after completing her degree, she clerked for a New Mexico federal judge with one of the heaviest criminal dockets in the country. Most recently, Xochitl practiced law at Kemp Smith focusing mostly on water law.
Representative Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Cheri Bustos is currently serving in her third term in Congress. She was recently elected by her colleagues to House Leadership as Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where she is shaping the party’s message to help promote our values. She is currently the only Midwesterner in elected Democratic House Leadership. As one of only a handful of Democrats left in rural districts, Cheri was tapped as Chair of Heartland Engagement at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee where she has been charged to mentor promising candidates in targeted districts to help Democrats reclaim the House. In Congress, Cheri is focused on ways to grow our economy and strengthen working families. A fierce advocate for the health and safety of families, she is proud of her work to replace lead pipes that were endangering children in her district. She is a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A lifelong Illinois resident, Cheri followed her passion into journalism where she uncovered numerous stories of corruption in government and earned recognition for her work in the community. She went on to work for one of the nation’s largest non-profit, non-denominational health systems.