chase martyn

Why has Iowa not sent a woman to Congress or Terrace Hill?

Jan 21, 2008

Women Do Well in Rural Areas, Too

I think there might be something to the rural/urban split that you mention, but I don’t think it’s as cut-and-dry as that.  There are certainly some long-standing state legislators from rural districts: Pettengill, De Boef, Tymeson (I guess you could call her district “suburban,” but Madison County isn’t much different from Iowa County, if you ask me), Ragan, Butka, and Upmeyer, for instance.

I agree the split isn’t 50-50, but in my work in some of those districts I never noticed much of a gender gap.  I wish there was scientific polling with gender crosstabs available to look at for some of those races, but there isn’t that I know of.

I would also bet that the more local you go, the more women there are holding public office.  I have met more female county auditors than male county auditors, for instance.  I have met many female county supervisors, although I’m less certain about the breakdown between men and women in those positions statewide.

In any event, for a state that has never elected a woman to congress or to governor, I’ve found surprisingly few manifestations of gender bias anywhere in Iowa.  I’m obviously not a woman, so I’ll readily admit that I wouldn’t have necessarily noticed such manifestations and have less of a right to make judgments about them than those who would be more likely to notice them.  But each time a female has lost a race for congress or statewide office, there have been more obvious reasons why she lost than her gender.  That doesn’t mean gender didn’t matter (I’ve studied enough feminism and gender theory to know that it ALWAYS matters), but I don’t think we’re all bigots.

One more thing to note: way back when Iowa used to elect its Lieutenant Governor separate from its Governor, we elected at least one woman to that position (Jo Ann Zimmerman).  It’s not the same as getting elected to governor, but when the two offices aren’t on one ticket, it’s somewhat comparable to a gubernatorial race, I think.

The Race to Replace Obama II

Oct 31, 2008

My money is on Jesse Jackson, Jr.

I saw Jesse Jackson, Jr., at the DNC in a few places, and my first thought looking back is that he’s at least making a play for Obama’s senate seat should Obama win the presidency.  His speech on stage used lofty language (even though it was not in prime time), and it was reminiscent of Obama’s 2004 speech.

More importantly, watching him work crowds around the convention center, it was clear that he was being cautious about whom he took a photo with and how he replied to voters’ questions — more cautious than a relatively safe congressman needs to be.

So while I don’t know much of anything about Blagojevich, I am confident that Jesse Jackson, Jr., is at least making a play for Senate.

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