Record editorial: Women in this election cycle are standing up and leading the way
The movement is impossible to miss. Across the country, there is an unprecedented wave of women running for political office.
Many are motivated out of frustration that a man accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women and caught on tape bragging about behavior that would fit the definition can rise to the most powerful position in the land. Many are angry that men — mostly white and aging — still have the authority to tell them what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Many are tired of peering into the halls of power in this country and having to squint to find someone without a Y chromosome.
And many, of course, are running simply because they’re qualified and have good ideas that can help their communities.
The sheer number of women running is stirring. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 250 women won nominations in congressional races, while nearly 3,400 are vying for seats on state legislatures, dwarfing the previous high mark set in 2016.
Whether the record-high enthusiasm translates to victories on Election Day remains to be seen. But all Americans should be inspired by the energy women have brought to this election cycle. The need for more of them in political office in our country cannot be overstated.
In Congress, for instance, only 107 of the 535 politicians who comprise the Senate and House of Representatives are women. The picture is similar in statehouses across the U.S. Utah, where women hold just 21 of 104 seats in the Legislature, is no exception.
That’s why it’s uplifting to see this many women entering the political fray.
The desire to change the status quo is present in Summit County, as well, with three Park City women mounting campaigns for the Statehouse. Democrat Meaghan Miller, a staffer at the People’s Health Clinic, is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Tim Quinn in House District 54. Meanwhile, local physician and Democrat Eileen Gallagher and Cathy Callow-Heusser, a member of the United Utah Party who has worked in engineering and education, are running in Senate District 26 alongside Republican Ronald Winterton.
All three have made a difference in the community through their work but have decided they also have a duty to try to make an impact through our political system. That’s something all residents should admire, whether or not they intend to check the boxes next to the candidates’ names.
Informed voters, of course, base their decisions on more than a candidate’s gender. They choose the person they believe best represents their values and beliefs. And that’s the way it should be.
Since the founding of our country, though, that has too often meant choosing between two men.
Perhaps 2018, nearly 100 years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, will mark the era in which that, at last, changes. If it does, it will be on the back of the thousands of women who have stood up this year, raised their voices and led the way.
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