WASHINGTON — As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is highlighting the women caucus leaders who are on the front lines of the fight for equality, justice, and opportunity in Republican-controlled states. These incredible women champion issues that are important to their communities ranging from expanding Medicaid to reproductive rights and criminal justice reform to strengthening access to the ballot box. Democratic women hold over 1,500 legislative seats across the country, including over 65 leadership positions.
“Electing women to state legislatures is essential for representation that is more reflective of our communities and shaping which issues are brought forward and how policies are crafted,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “When women have more than just a seat at the table and hold a position of power, they can wield their influence to level the playing field and create opportunity – even in Republican-controlled states. I look forward to seeing all the Democratic women caucus leaders continue to stand up for what’s right even as their Republican counterparts go off the deep end and attempt to bring fringe policies into the mainstream.”
Examples of Women Caucus Leaders Fighting for Equality, Justice, and Opportunity in GOP-Controlled States:
- Arizona Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios has been one of the most outspoken voices condemning Republicans’ attempts to push the “Big Lie” and create deliberate barriers to voting. She has fought against anti-voter bills that would actually eliminate early voting and make voting more difficult for seniors and workers. She’s consistently pushed for working-class families, advocating for paid family and medical leave and more affordable housing.
- Pennsylvania Democratic House Leader Joanna McClinton introduced a pro-voter bill to continue the use of early voting, expand access to ballot drop boxes and permit same-day registration in the face of Republican attacks on voter access and vote-by-mail.
- Virginia Democratic House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, the first female speaker of the Virginia House in its 400-year history, vowed to protect the Democratic Party’s record and make sure their progress in areas such as voters’ rights, gun control, and criminal justice reform was not rolled back.
- Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book has led the opposition to Republicans’ use of women and children as pawns in their ongoing, manufactured culture wars. She relied on her experience as a kindergarten teacher to explain the deep harm of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Leader Book also relived her childhood trauma while advocating for her amendment to the state’s 15-week abortion ban which would have allowed survivors of rape, incest, and human trafficking to receive an abortion.
- Georgia Senate Democratic Leader Gloria Butler is a steady voice of reason among her extremist Republican colleagues. During the debate over Georgia’s constitutional carry bill, she spoke of the evidence showing that the presence of a firearm during domestic violence incidents greatly increases the potential for homicide. She has also spoken out against Republicans’ bill that would whitewash history and have a “chilling effect” on open and honest discourse.
- Idaho House Democratic Leader Ilana Rubel called this year’s Republican agenda “destructive,” “unproductive,” and “useless,” citing a bill that would charge parents of transgender children with a felony for providing them with gender-affirming health care and another that would criminally charge librarians for providing students with “obscene material.”
- Kansas Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes has continuously pushed to expand Medicaid in the state, which will provide affordable health insurance to hundreds of thousands of people and “ensure we have a healthy workforce, create jobs, and attract businesses.”
- Kentucky House Democratic Leader Joni Jenkins said a regressive abortion bill would have unintended consequences for women and girls and would make “tragic situations worse.”
- Michigan House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski warned that the Republican $2.5 billion dollar tax cut plan is unsustainable and financially irresponsible. It would put an unnecessary strain on the state’s revenue, leaving the state at risk of losing American Rescue Plan funding, and potentially leading to extreme cuts to schools, road repairs and public safety to offset the budget.
- Minnesota Senate Democratic Leader Melissa Lopez Franzen argued for a $500 million public safety package to curb violent crime and address the root causes of gun violence.
- Idaho Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett criticized Senate Republicans for government overreach with the passage of SB 1309, a six-week abortion ban that would effectively ban abortion for those who do not even know that they are pregnant.
- Missouri Democratic House Minority Leader Crystal Quade introduced a bill to reimburse school districts that prioritized health and safety during the pandemic for legal costs incurred while defending frivolous campaign stunt lawsuits filed over mask mandates.
- Iowa House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst blasted the new law banning transgender girls from girls’ sports as discriminatory.
- New Hampshire Democratic Senate Leader Donna Soucy has authored legislation every year for the past decade to raise the state’s minimum wage. She said she won’t stop fighting for fair pay for workers after a partisan vote killed the measure once again this year.
- Wisconsin Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer called the sham election review ordered by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos “undemocratic” and not in the interest of the people of Wisconsin. Rather, Neubauer stated that “Wisconsin’s elections are safe, secure and accurate.“