Monday, September 28, 2020

Upswing in women candidates is welcome change

| May 17, 2020 10:16 AM

Earlier this week the Associated Press reported there are more Montana women seeking statewide political office in 2020 than in the last three decades. Eleven women representing just about every position on the political spectrum are running for high-profile posts including governor and U.S. Senate.

Each of the women — five Republicans, four Democrats, a Green and a Libertarian — bring their own unique background and experience to the table as well as their own reasons for throwing their hats in the political ring.

Sara Rinfret with the University of Montana told the Associated Press that more women are running in general and they are “pushing back against the idea that it’s an exception and attempting to make it the norm, to make sure the next generation has that chance.”

Historically, women such as Jeannette Rankin have already carved a path for other generations of Montanans to build on. Rankin, a Republican from Montana, was the first woman to hold a federal office in the United States after being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916.

Achievements such as hers, and from other noteworthy female politicians in Montana throughout the years, have no doubt opened the door for other women to successfully enter the political realm.

This influx in women candidates in 2020 is something voters should both welcome and applaud.

Recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show women make up nearly half of the state’s population. This statistic alone means it is critical that this large and vital demographic be represented on ballots this election year and every election cycle onward.

While each candidate, both women and men, should be studied at length by Montana’s voting body, we encourage you to pay close attention to your local female legislative candidates as they represent values specific to Flathead County.

Republicans Catherine Owens, Dee Kirk-Boon and Amy Regier are vying for various House seats, as are Democrats Debo Powers and Jennifer Allen.

This year’s candidate pool is especially impressive and diverse. And with the primary election a little more than two weeks away, now is the time to start researching your candidates if you haven’t already done so, so you can make informed decisions when filling out your ballot.