A First: In the past week, Iowans have seen lawmakers go back to work, one governor leave, a former governor return and a chief justice defend one of the courts most controversial rulings in recent memory. Not lost in all that is a bit of history. Garner Republican Linda Upmeyer became the first woman in state history to rise to the position of house majority leader. Iowa became a state in 1846. So it has taken quite a bit of time. Dr. Dianne Bystrom, the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics at Iowa State University, paid close attention to the “first” for the state. She told me women make up just 24.5% percent of the country’s state lawmakers but even fewer hold leadership positions: 17%.
Of course, Iowa remains just 1 of 4 states in the U.S. to never elect a woman governor. Although, new Governor Terry Branstad seemed to give a nod to someone he may want to change that, his Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.
Here’s my conversation with Dr. Bystrom about Upmeyer’s accomplishment and what’s ahead:
Bystrom also leads the “Ready to Run Campaign” for women looking to get into elected office. It happens every other year. The next class begins June 10th. Here’s a link to get more information.