One of the co-chairs of a group that is trying to get more women into the top elected offices in the state says women should not be left out of the talk over filling what will be an open U.S. Senate seat in 2014.
Maggie Tinsman says the retirement announcement of Senator Tom Harkin is an opportunity for women.
“It’s time for Iowa to break out of its connection with Mississippi — which is the only other state that’s never sent (a woman) to Washington, D.C. besides Iowa — and never had a female governor,” Tinsman says.
“So, I think it’s really important for Iowa to realize that we’ve got some real quality women that could run as well.”
Tinsman is a Republican and a retired state senator from Bettendorf. Former Democrat state senator Jean Lyod-Jones co-chairs the bipartisan group “50-50 in 20-20” with Tinsman. The group seeks to have 50-percent of the members of the Iowa Legislature and congressional delegation be women by 2020.
They also want to have a woman governor in office by the same year — which is the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement. Tinsman says there are numerous female candidates from both parties who could run, such as: Iowa Economic Development Director Debi Durham; Des Moines City Councilwoman Chris Hensley; Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum; former Lieutenant Governors Patty Judge and Sally Pederson; House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer; and former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack.
Current Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says she is keeping her options open for a possible run. Tinsman says her group is not endorsing any particular woman.
“We’ve not talked to any of them about running. We’re just saying that all the media and everyone else is talking about all these men who could run, and they are very quality men, don’t get me wrong,” Tinsman says, “but the fact is that now we have some potential candidates that are female as well and could be elected to congress.”
Tinsman says running against an incumbent is not easy, and that’s what makes this an even more important opportunity for women. “This is an open seat, so it’s very different. And it’s time for women who have been in the pipeline and who have done a wonderful job, not only in elected politics, but non-elected politics to absolutely run. And we know that women win in the same percentage as men. It’s the fact that they don’t run enough,” according to Tinsman.
She says if one of the sitting congressmen decides to run for the Senate seat, then that would provide an opportunity for women to run for an open congressional seat. Tinsman says now is the time for women candidates to start lining up and raising money for a political run.
You can find out more about Tinsman’s group on their website at: www.50-50in2020.org.