I was thrilled to read Kathleen Parker’s article, “Time for the GOP Women,” in the Washington Post this week about the Republican Party’s need to reach out to and recruit more female candidates. Parker points out several of the emerging female voices in the GOP, such as candidates Meg Whitman and Carla Fiorina of California, blogger Meghan McCain and foreign policy expert Liz Cheney. Parker also observes that the deficit of Republican women in high offices is “both a taint on the GOP and a reflection of the broader assumption that Republicans are monolithically against women’s rights.”
Unfortunately, to the casual observer, a quick look at Virginia’s Republican Party might lead one to the same erroneous conclusion. Currently, Republican women in the Commonwealth are represented by only one State Senator (out of 19 Republicans), and four Delegates (out of 53 Republicans). Any way you slice it, those are dreadfully poor numbers and may help explain why the Virginia GOP has never fielded a female candidate for statewide office.
Simply put, we CAN and we MUST do better.
I consider myself fortunate to be acquainted with, and related to, so many strong and smart Republican women. Maybe that’s why I am convinced that our Party is capable of competing on a level playing field for women’s votes. To do so, however, we must not only talk about issues that matter to women, but we must also prove that women matter to our Party. One way of doing that is through recruitment of female candidates for office.
It appears as though our Party is at least beginning to get the message. This election cycle alone, in addition to the four female GOP Delegates seeking re-election, the Republican Party of Virginia has six other women seeking election to the House of Delegates. This is a good start, and hopefully in a couple of years Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel will also get some back-up in the Commonwealth’s Upper Chamber.
I look forward to the day that the Virginia Republican Party has a woman elected to statewide office, and I hope that day is sooner rather than later. Our Party simply cannot afford to have half of the population wondering why they don’t see anyone in our leadership ranks who looks like them.
P.S. – If you are looking for the calendar pictured above, you can go order it at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute website. It comes highly recommended.