John Laird Some folks still ignore the value of women in politics

first_imgIsolated cases of colossal cluelessness about women continue to weaken America’s claim to being one of the world’s most advanced societies.Before I trot out the most recent coffee-spewing example of rancid male rhetoric about females, allow me to exonerate Clark County and Washington state from this condemnation.No one around here seems to have noticed, but history was made last Nov. 6 in Clark County’s three main legislative districts. For the first time, a majority of those nine legislators are women: Sharon Wylie, Ann Rivers, Annette Cleveland, Liz Pike and Monica Stonier. Friday I checked with Betty Sue Morris — who served in the Legislature from 1989 through 1996 — and she confirmed that this is the first time five women have represented Clark County’s three major districts.Does this make the delegation better? Not necessarily. It just means the community has reached a milestone in equal representation.At the state judicial level, a milestone was reached on Jan. 14 when newly elected Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud was sworn in at the Washington State Supreme Court. For the first time, the state’s high court has both a female majority and a female chief justice (Barbara Madsen).Although these accomplishments are unprecedented, they’re not all that surprising. Washington has long been a model state in electing women, starting in 1913 when Frances C. Axtell of Whatcom County and Nena Jolidon Croake of Pierce County joined 95 men in the state House of Representatives.In fact, for 11 years — 1993 through 2004 — Washington ranked No. 1 in percentage of women legislators. We now rank ninth nationally; 30 percent (44 of 147) of the state legislators are women. This information is according to the office of new Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, one of 15 women serving in that role nationwide.last_img