Women elected in record numbers

More than 2,000 women will serve in state legislatures, representing roughly a quarter of all state lawmakers across the country

Women’s winning streak in this year’s elections has extended to statehouses across the country.

More than 2,000 women will serve in state legislatures when those chambers convene for their upcoming sessions, representing roughly a quarter of all state lawmakers across the country. That mark will eclipse the record of 1,875 who served this year, according to reports Thursday from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

The number could rise as ballot-counting concludes in close contests across the country. The Associated Press has not yet called 216 state legislative elections, races that include about 185 female candidates, according to the center.

In another first, women could end up holding the majority in two state legislative chambers at the same time — the Colorado House and Nevada Assembly, according to tallies by the center and the National Council of State Legislatures.

“It’s about time,” said Lisa Cutter, a Democrat who won a Colorado House seat in her first time seeking office.

The state lawmakers are part of a wave of women who ran and won this year for state and federal offices, most of them Democrats motivated by the election of President Donald Trump. They campaigned amid a spotlight on sexual harassment cast by the #MeToo movement, although polls showed that gender was only a minor concern for most voters.

Improving access to health care, expanding early childhood development and boosting funding for K-12 education were cited as top priorities by many female candidates during this year’s campaigns.

Nationally, women led the Democrats’ return to control of the U.S. House of Representatives as the number of GOP women serving will be down from the current 23 to as few as 13. Overall, there will be at least 102 women in the House next year, an increase of at least 18 over the current mark.

The U.S. Senate will have at least 23 women, tying the current total and record.

At the state level, at least nine women will be governors, tying the record set in 2004 and 2007.

“When more women are in power … you get better results,” Cutter said.


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