Iowa women in politics want more company. The top woman in the Iowa legislature says the state’s recent re-districting is the best opportunity in a long time for more women to join the ranks of lawmakers. Women are 51-percent of the population but just 20-percent of the legislature. Senate President Mary Kramer says there are 34 open seats in the state’s newly drawn legislative districts, because they’re new ones with no incumbents. Kramer, a Republican from West Des Moines, is a member of the new “Iowa’s Women in Public Policy Campaign,” and hopes to recruit women for next year’s elections. Kramer says she can understand women who have families and live far from the capital don’t want to take the time away from a home and a career, but she says legislative leaders have tried to make the job more appealing. She says they have done a good job of getting more women into leadership roles. And she says they’ve done more to make the legislature more family friendly.The more family-friendly legislature may be paying off. State Democratic Party chair Dr. Sheila Riggs-McGuire says in recent weeks she’s heard of what seems to be growing interest.Riggs McGuire has had more calls than ever before from women interested in running for office. McGuire says more women in the legislature will mean more focus on family issues like childcare, education and healthcare. A group of Iowa woman in Politics held a reception last night to invite more women to join their ranks.
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