Women in Pa.-litics

DN Editorial

SAVVY political observers won’t be shocked to learn that a greater percentage of women hold legislative office in Afghanistan than in Pennsylvania.

Yes, Afghanistan.

The Center for American Women in Politics, at Rutgers, ranks Pennsylvania 38th among states in the U.S., with women holding 17 percent of legislative seats in Harrisburg.

Women make up 28 percent of parliament in Afghanistan.

But change might be in the wind.

Kathleen Kane was the first woman to win as attorney general in the state. There are two strong and credible women running for the Democratic nomination for governor: U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Kathleen McGinty, former head of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

And this year, for the first time in history, a majority of Democrats running for the state House against Republicans are women. The Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee recently announced that 28 Democratic women are on the slate this year – a record number and a dozen more than last year.

“I wanted to recruit better candidates this cycle but I also wanted to focus on recruiting strong women in our most viable seats to address the lack of equal representation in the house,” said Rep. Tim Briggs, of Montgomery County, the House Democratic Campaign Committee chairman.

Briggs thinks that the policies of the Republican-controlled Legislature have held back middle-class families of Pennsylvania, and sees this election as a referendum on Gov. Corbett. It also will be a referendum on the Democrats’ efforts to attract more women candidates. Apparently mindful of an American University study last year titled “Girls Just Wanna Not Run” – which concluded that women aren’t socialized to consider a career in politics – they aggressively recruited women outside the traditional party structure.

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PA HDCC: PA House Dems Make History: Majority of Challengers Women

HARRISBURG, March 12, 2014—For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, a majority of the Democrats running for the Pennsylvania House this year against Republicans will be women. The Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee announced on Thursday that 28 Democratic women will be running in Republican-held House seats in 2014.

“We are setting out to change the face of the Legislature in 2014,” said PA HDCC Chair Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery). “I wanted to recruit better candidates this cycle but I also wanted to focus on recruiting strong women in our most viable seats to address the lack of equal representation in the House. We were more successful than I ever expected and I look forward to making gains towards a Democratic majority.”

Briggs said that he sees great opportunity for the Democratic challengers running for the House this year with poll after poll showing voters rejecting the policies of Governor Corbett and the House GOP.

“The destructive policies of the Republican-controlled legislature have held back the hard working, middle class families of Pennsylvania. This election will be a referendum on Governor Corbett and his rubber stamps in the House.”

Pennsylvania has consistently ranked as one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to the proportion of women in the state legislature, with a mere 17.8% currently occupying seats. By contrast, women make up 28% of the parliament in Afghanistan.

But with a strong slate of women running for the House in 2014, the Democrats believe that will change in November. HDCC Vice-Chair Rep. Tina Davis (D-Bucks) was excited by the caliber of the Democratic women and men running this year.

“This is an impressive slate of Democratic candidates,” said Davis. “The women who have stepped up to run are the best leaders of our business, non-profit and civic communities. The 2014 election will be truly historic and exciting. Voters are tired of the failed governance of the GOP and this year they will have inspiring alternatives on the ballot.”

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PoliticsPA: Dems Tap Briggs for HDCC

Written by Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

State Rep. Tim Briggs of Montgomery County will take the reins of the House Democratic Campaign Committee for the 2014 election cycle, effective today.

He steps in as Democrats face a difficult uphill slog to narrow their 111 to 92 minority in the chamber.

“I was disappointed, to be candid,” he said of the 2012 election results. The caucus defeated one incumbent Republican but lost an open seat, leaving it with a net gain of zero. “The Senate saw some big victories and closed the gap. I was hoping we would have picked up a couple of seats.”

“As it got closer I knew the majority wasn’t going to be in reach. But I was hoping in the southeast to take advantage of some of Obama’s popularity.”

Briggs, 42, is beginning his third term in the state House. He’s married with four children.

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