Magnolia State History In The Making

UNDATED (WCBI) – In 1916 the first woman, Montana’s Jeannette Rankin, was elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. A federal office.

Now, in 2018, The Magnolia state is sending its first female to serve in the U.S. Capitol. Cindy Hyde Smith will Mississippi’s next U.S. Senator.

“Having a women in a high profile position like this will only help the women in Mississippi know that there is perhaps a place for them,”said Mississippi University For Women Political Science Assistant Professor Dr. Chanley Rainy.

Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is blazing a trail through Mississippi’s political history.

“Mississippi is only one of two states to have never sent a women to congress the other is Vermont. Having a women represent us in Congress really does elevate us. It takes us off that list. It really neutralizes things for our state which is very important for women for family issues just to have someone at the table,” said Stennis Center For Public Service Program Director Jennifer Gregory.

Currently only two women are holding a state-wide elected, Smith and Treasurer Lynn Fitch.

Rainy says Smith’s appointment could open the gates for more females to run for office.

“Women are really taking the initiative and running. That’s been the biggest stumbling block to getting more women in office in the united states has been that they just don’t run as often.”

Gregory says Smith could also serve as a role model.

“Having a women that is a sitting senator could remove the barrier a little bit. It makes fundraising potentially more achievable and easier for women across the state,” said Gregory.

In 2016, 237 women ran for house and senate seats. The Rutgers Center for women in politics say Smith is now part of a group that has doubled the number of women interested in representing their states.

Rainy believes the Magnolia State should start putting more numbers on the board.

“Our continent has an average of 28.5% women law makers. Our Country has a lower percentage of 22% and Mississippi ranks 47th with 14.9% in it’s own state legislature being women, so we need this,” said Rainy.

Smith officially begins her new role on April 2nd. She will be sworn-in by Vice President Mike Pence.

Categories: State News

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