Women in Power

North Carolina leads the South in the percentage of female legislators, according to an analysis recently released from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

With 25 percent of the General Assembly membership comprised of women, North Carolina has the 18th highest percentage of women serving in the Legislature in the country.

The national average is 24.5 percent. Vermont has the highest percentage at 37.8 percent, while South Carolina has the lowest, with 8.8 percent.

Lillian Exum Clement of Buncombe County was the first woman elected to the legislature in 1920, but even as late as 1971, only two legislators were women.

Now, 43 women serve in the General Assembly, up from 39 during the last session.

North Carolina women legislators are leading as well as serving. Female legislators now chair or co-chair four of the six most powerful committees in the House and two of the six most powerful committees in the Senate.

In the State House, three women are among the co-chairs of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which writes and negotiates the state’s two-year spending plan.

Additionally, six of the seven House Appropriations Subcommittees have women as co-chairs.

Women also chair or co-chair other powerful House committees, including: the Finance Committee (which determines tax policy); the Judiciary I Committee (which deals with substantive changes in the laws), and the Commerce, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee (which handles bills that affect more than 90 percent of the state’s business entities).

In the State Senate, two of the three co-chairs of the powerful Appropriations/Base Budget Committee are women. A woman also chairs the Education/Higher Education Committee, another powerful policy committee.

Women also serve as key party leaders. In both the House and Senate, women serve as half of the majority or minority whips for their political parties. Party whips count votes and line up support on issues on which the Democratic or Republican parties have taken a position.


you forgot

Ethics. Deborah Ross chairs that I do believe.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

Thanks, Jerimee

Great to celebrate women making progress. I like to think about my grandmother, who was around for women being granted the right to vote. Now, we're making up a lot of the political machine. In my county, of the 6 elected officers, 5 are women.

Give us time, and we'll show you boys how to do it right. :-P

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Of the five most successful counties in WNC

for Democrats (according to the former NCDP western political director) how many were led by female county chairs? Why, all of them. Haywood's Nancy Fish. Henderson's Eva Ritchey, Polk's Margaret Johnson. All those counties made amazing strides to lead Heath Shuler to victory in the 11th.

Then, in the 5th, Watauga and Ashe were impressive, led by Diane Tilson and Melba Jones, respectively. Think total upset by Senator Steve Goss and takeover by state Rep. Cullie Tarleton (among other successes)

And three counties with amazing improvement and a few surprising victories in the 10th were either led by women, or the improvements were led by women. They are Lincoln's Patsy Black (where the Dems beat an incumbent Republican Sheriff), Catawba's 1st vice chair C. Jane Johnson, (State Rep Ray Warren, also almost beat incumbent, popular Sheriff Huffman), and Caldwell secretary (now chair) Beth Jones (upset victories in county commission). And we can't forget Cleveland County's indomitable Betsy Wells, who led a local integration process (as well as years of local democratic victories.)

Wooo hoooo for women in WNC!
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

How Refreshing

It is good to see a balance in power.

Men and women characteristically have different strengths - not always, of course but the way they must deal with the world is different.

They enjoy different perspectives in how they must handle their day to day lives. (If 'enjoy' is the proper word... )

Personally, I don't feel having all one or the other does justice to our complex world. It's gratifying to see strong, capable women making a difference for all of us.


Give us time, and we'll show you boys how to do it right.

(hee hee, lcloud. remember - it's nice to share ... :) )

Nice to share


It was said mostly with tongue in cheek. Mostly. I figure that in the last 240 years or so, the suits and neckties have led us to Bush and Cheney. As this evolves (and it is an evolution, not a revolution), and we skirts and blouses wind up in charge. Or at least I like to think so.

And I know this sounds sexist. It probably is - that's why my tongue is still in my cheek. Mostly

and it's not an endorsement of Hilary Clinton, either. Not every woman who wants to lead should.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi