Last Tuesday was the political candidate filing deadline. We now know there are eleven Democratic candidates running for the open Delegate seat here in Maryland’s District 16. Two incumbents (Del. Susan Lee and Del. Bill Frick) are also running for re-election, making a total of thirteen candidates for three seats.
Interestingly, I am the only woman in the field competing for the open seat. That’s right, it’s me and ten guys. Here in Bethesda, this is shocking. Our community has a tremendous number of well-educated and accomplished women who would make excellent legislators. That’s why, historically, Montgomery County has been a leader in electing women.
Unfortunately, we are no longer leaders. We have seen a significant decrease in the number of women serving in our House of Delegates in the last eight years years. Delegate Marilyn Goldwater retired after a tremendous career in 2007, the same year Nancy King was appointed to the Senate, leaving her House of Delegates seat. Beloved Delegate Jane Lawton passed away while in office in 2008, and the late Delegate Jean Cryor, a moderate Republican and woman's rights advocate, was defeated in 2006.
Our Montgomery County House Delegation in Annapolis now has seventeen men and only seven women. In other words our delegation is now only 29% women, down from 46% (11 women) in 2002. 1
I have worked in Annapolis, and seen first hand how the scarcity of elected women impacts public policy. I know women’s voices are needed in the halls of Annapolis, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to run.
No, I don’t think you should support me simply because I am a woman. You should support me because I am a qualified woman, with extensive experience working on the issues that matter to Montgomery County families. I also have strong values, good judgment, coalition building skills, and a track record of fiscal responsibility.
But I do think everyone supporting this campaign, from volunteers to donors and voters, can also be proud that we are working to increase the representation of women in Annapolis. With our success, I hope we will also inspire little girls and grown women to jump into future races so we can rebuild a critical mass of women in Annapolis.
1 These numbers do not include Delegate Karen Britto, who was recently appointed to temporarily fill the seat of Delegate Bill Bronrott. Del. Bronrott stepped down after the legislative session to join the Obama Administration. Delegate Britto is not running for election this fall- I am running for the seat vacated by Del. Bronrott.