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Who are the future female candidates of Rhode Island politics?

November 13, 2012

Can Rhode Island women replicate New Hampshire’s success in having an all-female congressional delegation and a woman governor, to boot?

That’s part of challenge thrown down on Facebook by former Providence Journal political columnist M. Charles Bakst:

Can you identify or locate at least FIVE women with not only the ABILITY but also the AMBITION to run for these offices in Rhode Island now or in the foreseeable future?

Granted, it’s tough to see anyone beating most of the incumbents in these posts, but you never know if there will be a sudden vacancy or retirement or if the political winds will make someone vulnerable. In fact, let’s, for the sake of argument, assume all five seats are, or about to be, reasonably winnable. I repeat the question: Can you identify or locate at least FIVE women with both the ABILITY and the AMBITION to mount campaigns for these seats?

Just for fun, Bakst encouraged submissions of at least 10 women — five Democrats and five Republicans — who could reasonably compete for congress and the governor’s office. (His caveat: “[T]his is an exercise designed to stimulate discussion. It does NOT mean I am suggesting that any of the incumbents necessarily deserves to be replaced.”)

Rhode Island has never elected a woman as governor or US senator.

That could change in 2014, since state Treasurer Gina Raimondo is on the short list of expected gubernatorial candidates.

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed broke glass ceilings when they landed their respective posts.

Still, women remain underrepresented in Rhode Island politics.

Promoting more women candidates might help the RI GOP, which fared better in the ’80s and ’90s with the likes of Arlene Violet, Susan Farmer, Claudine Schneider, Nancy Mayer, among others.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2012 8:54 pm

    There are tons of great potential candidates on the Democratic side. To name just a few:

    Teresa Tanzi
    Cathie Cool Rumsey
    Elizabeth Roberts
    Maria Cimini
    Edith Ajello

    The difficulty with the Republican side is that most of the strong conservative women run as Democrats. Politicians like Teresa Paiva-Weed or Gina Raimondo could have had strong careers as moderate Republicans, but they understood that their political futures lie with the Democrats.

  2. Kevin McCarthy permalink
    November 17, 2012 8:20 pm

    Want more women in high positions? Switch to a parliamentary system of government. Golda Meir, Maggie Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Angela Merkel all rose up through party ranks. By the way, how exactly has Gina Raimondo’s gender held her back politically ?

    • November 17, 2012 8:40 pm

      Kevin, the point is not that Raimondo’s gender has held her back; it obviously hasn’t. The point is that women remain very under-represented in RI politics. I don’t think we’ll see a parliamentary system in the US any time soon

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