Editor’s Note: This blog was written and submitted by Vision 2020 Colorado Delegate Rosemary Harris Lytle.
For the second time in as many years, Colorado leads the country with the highest percentage of women in the State Legislature. In the critical 2012 elections, Colorado elected 28 women to the House of Representatives and 14 women to the State Senate for 42 out of 100 State legislators or 42 percent.
Sitting on the House floor, among some who were there to be sworn into office and some who were there to witness this week, you couldn’t help but feel the awe-inspiring power of the moment. In addition to swearing in progressive/friend Mark Ferrandino as the first openly gay Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, it was another banner day for women in the Centennial State.
This year, Colorado has a higher percentage of women in its State Legislature than Maine, more than Massachusetts, more than Minnesota, according to figures reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
A big round of applause for Colorado’s women legislators!!!
The gains that women have experienced in Colorado State House elections are not by coincidence. Part of it is history and part of it is good old fashioned strategy, preparation, planning.
On the history part, Colorado was the first state to grant women the right to vote based on a popular election and the state takes seriously its leadership on women’s suffrage.
On the strategy part, let’s say that the presence of groups that promote women’s political engagement (COLOR Latina, The White House Project, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, 9to5 and yes, Vision 2020) Colorado women have been intentional about exercising the right to vote AND keeping women’s issues on the table.