Women in Congress

KIMT News 3 – A University of Minnesota study is putting the spotlight on Congress and the lack of representation of women on the ballot.

Since the first woman was elected to the House of Representatives nearly a century ago, Iowa along with five other states has yet to have a woman elected.

State Majority Leader, Linda Upmeyer is one of three female state representatives in Cerro Gordo County and says this is an odd statistic to grasp especially in an area with several female leaders.

“It’s kind of unusual to talk about this problem when we are in a part of the state that’s very receptive to recruiting and electing women but we do need to focus on that and recruit more women and have more women on the ballot,” said Upmeyer.

“We’ve had a Democratic and Republican congressman for 30 plus years. The same two people every two years but we constantly re-elect Republican and Democrat. So we are independent minded which really throws this whole statistic for a loop as to why we haven’t elected a female,” said John Lee, Political Science teacher at Mason City High School.

In the 113th Congress, more women than ever before are represented at 79, more than tripling the number seated just 25 years ago.

While she considers herself as more of a motivator than role model, Linda believes those in her place can be the biggest influences of on women across the state.

“As people who have been there and done that you can assure them that these things are doable and if there is support out there for them then we can help them build networks we can help them raise money and we can help them meet those needs that are necessary,” said Upmeyer.

Minnesota was given a “C” grade for having 11 out of 96 female politicians successfully winning US House seats.

One of those women, Republican US Rep. Michele Bachmann is expected to retire later this year.

The top state in the country was Wyoming — whose rate of electing women to Congress is more than 30 percent higher than any other state.

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