Joanne’s Journal: 2018 Will Be A Great Year For Women in Politics

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It’s that time of the year again, folks!

Can you feel it in the air?

It’s the smell of anticipation, surprise, excitement, hard work, expectations and change!

What am I referring to? I think you know.

I am referring to the week before the declaration of candidates in the  Rhode Island election season. While so many potential first time candidates are looking forward to their declaration of candidacy with excitement and fortitude, the incumbents look at this week with dread and despair as a new campaign season begins.

Anyone who has been in office will tell you that they love being elected and the opportunity to serve their constituency. Yet most dread campaign season.

Campaign Season Returns

(Yes, I am speaking from experience after surviving nine elections.)

I can say that each campaign is different, yet all are stressful, expensive, long and exhausting.

The week before the filing date is when the rumors start to fly about alleged challengers to your seat. That’s not fun. Are campaigns suppose to be fun? I think so. But at times they are very hot and heavy with unexpected results.

Joanne Giannini expects to see far more women elected to office in 2018.

I predict that this will be the year of women. More women will run this year across the country than ever before. Washington will see a much higher roster of women in Congress than ever before.

So many women have decided that they have had enough of working behind the scenes and have decided to take the reigns and run the horses themselves.  I say hooray for them! I have always felt a woman’s place was in the House. (The “House of Representatives, that is”.)

The Year of Women

Yet in Rhode Island our federal officials are all men. Not many women have ventured into the bee’s nest of running for Federal office as Congresswomen or Senators.

Kudos to the women who have taken on this David and Goliath task against some of the most powerful elected officials in the country. Women like Claudine Schneider, Linda Kushner, Jennifer Lawless and Betsy Dennigan tried to break the glass ceiling. Only Claudine Schneider succeeded.

Women need to realize that things can’t change unless they change and run for higher office.

 

We are beginning to see a steady stream of RI women candidates in our General Assembly.  Women add a different dimension to our government. Their life experiences as mothers, daughters, sisters, caregivers, domestic workers and career women add a needed dimension to the General Assembly. Look for more women to win this fall and lead their districts in the General Assembly.

 

Having said all this, I must emphasize that my comments are strictly about the lack of women in Federal government and the General Assembly. We repeatedly have had women in our state run for Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State and Lt.Governor.

 

But the threshold for Federal office has been low. And even though the General Assembly has gained more women representation in the last few years, it has been only averaging about 20 to 25 percent over the last ten years.

 

So let’s put our campaign hats on Ladies and gear up! We are no longer the workers who lead behind the scenes. We will be the leaders who stand in front!

Joanne Giannini
Joanne Giannini is a former State Representative from Providence. A freelance journalist, consultant and writer, she has previously written commentary for The Providence journal, GolocalProv and WPRO radio. Contact her at Pt3270@yahoo.com
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