Letter to the Editor

A historic year in Iowa

Thursday, July 28, 2016

This November's election in Iowa will be a milestone to celebrate regardless of who wins.

For the first time in history, voters will have an opportunity to vote for women on every level of the state ballot.

Leaders of 50-50 in 2020, whose goal is to elect more women to Iowa's Legislature, congressional offices and governor's office, say that having women contend at every level sends a message to women throughout Iowa.

"For nearly 100 years, since women in America got the right to vote, female candidates have been the exception," said Jean Lloyd-Jones, 50-50 co-founder and former state senator from Iowa City. "But in November not only will there be a woman running for president, Iowans will see a woman running for U.S. Senate, women running for U.S. House in two of the state's four congressional districts and 59 women running for Iowa House and Senate."

Public acceptance of women running for office in Iowa is growing, contends Maggie Tinsman, 50-50 cofounder and former Iowa State senator from Bettendorf.

"Our job is nowhere near complete," Tinsman said, acknowledging that even if all 59 legislative candidates were to win they would not be enough to balance the gender gap in Iowa's General Assembly. But the more females seen running for top-of-the-ballot office, the easier it becomes for people to see women as contenders, beginning with themselves. "Having more women involved in decision-making brings better problem-solving and better results -- something we all want to see in our government as well as in society in general," Tinsman said.