Year of the Woman: It’s About Damn Time

Via Rebecca Dooley

#MeToo, Women’s March, Time’s Up, “Defund Planned Parenthood,” “Grab ‘em by the pussy”

These are just a few of the many many catalysts for the women lining up to run for office. The media is calling 2018 “The Year of the Woman.” An explosion, an avalanche, a wave, a surge… or as I like to call it, “It’s about damn time!” Nothing measures the energy and scope of women stepping up in the political sphere quite like EMILY’s List’s numbers. During the 2016 campaign, roughly 920 women contacted the pro-choice Democratic women’s organization expressing an interest in running for office. Since Donald Trump was elected on November 8, 2016, over 34,000 women have reached out to EMILY’s List saying they are interested in running for office. 34,000.

Let’s do a quick check-in on representation. Currently, of the 535 members of Congress, 19.8% are women, and only 6 of the 50 governors are women. Yup, the continued lack of representation for 50% of the population is abysmal. But, change is coming.

A record breaking 324 women have already filed to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) estimates that there could be over 100 more women who will file in the coming weeks and months. 33 women have filed to run for Senate thus far, and 44 for governor. These women are setting up 2018 to be a year for the history books, and potentially the start to re-writing the story of women’s representation.

Via Politico.com

However, women are still only 22% of candidates running for the House. This is better than 2016 (when 17.8% were women), that 2018 is not the end all be all. We need to continue to seek out women with things to say, with confidence and determination and encourage them to run for office. There is a cycle of women feeling unqualified to run for office because they don’t see enough examples of women like them in office--and that won’t change until more women run--thus, the cycle. Tell your neighbors, teachers, co-workers, friends to run and tell them more than once.

                                              Related: We Have a Women’s Leadership Problem

In the meantime, here are five Democratic women candidates to inspire your future run for office:

1. Stacey Abrams- Governor, Georgia

A Yale Law School graduate and Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, Stacey Abrams has been fighting an uphill battle for months, and she is thriving. Georgia has not seen a Democratic governor since 2003 and the state has been completely controlled by Republicans since 2005, yet Stacey has her sights set on becoming the first female African-American governor in the nation. She has quickly become a celebrity and role model for women and people of color seeking greater representation in government while being a champion for economic opportunity, education and civil rights.

Via Twitter

2. Kyrsten Sinema- U.S. Senate. Arizona

Kyrsten is running for a highly contested Senate seat left open by current Republican Senator Jeff Flake, and she has a great chance to flip the seat. Sinema served in the Arizona state House for six years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, becoming the first openly bisexual elected to Congress. Largely driven by her own experiences of homelessness and living in an abandoned gas station for nearly three years as a child, she is a fierce fighter for the elevation of Arizona’s impoverished population.

Via Twitter

3. Gina Ortiz Jones- U.S. House, Texas

As a first-generation American, Jones is running for office for the first time to expand economic and educational opportunities for families like her own in Texas. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran where she served as an Intelligence Officer in Iraq. Jones has the opportunity to flip the two-time Republican incumbent seat, and if (when) she does, she will be the first openly gay woman of color elected to Congress from Texas. A Democrat, a woman (of color), a lesbian and a veteran...oh my!

Via Huffington Post

4. Sara Jacobs- U.S. House, California

Sara Jacobs is vying to flip an open House seat currently held by a Republican male. If elected, Jacobs could be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 29 years old. I feel especially connected to Jacobs for this reason. Finally, a millennial! Someone who Tweets about pop culture and regularly discusses “smashing the patriarchy.” Though one of the youngest candidates running for the House in the country, Jacobs’ resume is long and impressive, including a Master’s from Columbia, service with the United Nations and UNICEF, policy advisor for both the Obama State Department and the Hillary campaign and CEO of an international education non-profit. Watch out world, Sara’s coming!

Via Cosmopolitan

And finally, I would not be doing my New Jersey roots justice if I didn’t mention Mikie Sherrill.

5. Mikie Sherrill- U.S. House, New Jersey

Sherrill is running in the district right next to my home district, so her victory is really important to me. Also, she’s a total badass. After 10 years of service to the U.S. Navy where she served as a Sea King Helicopter pilot, Sherrill went on to get her law degree from Georgetown and worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. She is running for an open seat that’s been held by a prominent male Republican for the last 23 years. It’s time for a change.

Via Wall Street Journal

There are hundreds more women running all over the country, from federal office to local city councils. Find a woman running near you, and lend a hand on her campaign. You won’t regret it, I promise!