In 1916, Jeannette Rankin made history. Hailing from the state of Montana, she was the first woman ever elected to the United States Congress. Since then, women have taken large steps; today, nearly 20 percent of the seats in Congress are held by women, the most at any point in history. While this is still a disproportionately low representation, my female colleagues are trailblazers. I am certain that their careers will encourage young girls everywhere to pursue their goals, including elected office. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to recognize the women in the 115th Congress for their commitment to public service and policy, their examples of leadership, and their mark on history.
The intelligent approaches these women take to policy are remarkable. It is an honor to work closely with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-3), as we attempt to tackle the issues facing Central Ohio, like aiding homeless veterans with the introduction of the HOMeS Act, and serving together as the Co-Chairs for the Financial Literacy Caucus.
Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s (MA-5) commitment to fighting the opioid crisis in our nation has been invaluable, and I was proud to collaborate with her on the Protecting Our Infants Act and the Reducing Unused Medications Act – both which have become law. I am also grateful to Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), and the 8 other women serving on the House Committee on Financial Services for their work towards financial responsibility and independence for our nation. These women work unbelievably hard day-in and day-out by raising smart questions and innovative proposals to solve the problems facing our nation.
Moreover, each day these women conduct themselves with poise and exemplify the best qualities of leadership. I want to thank Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) for her measured guidance of the House Republican Conference and Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s (SD-AL) hard work as a Deputy Whip. Additionally, seeing Congresswoman Mia Love (UT-4), the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21), the youngest woman to ever serve, represent their districts and break down barriers at the same time is a privilege.
I am continuously impressed by each of the 104 women in Congress, and am appreciative for their leadership both on Capitol Hill and across our nation.
In the 101 years since Jeanette Rankin took office, plenty has changed in the United States. The strength and leadership of women, however, has not. As the father of a young daughter, I want her to have intelligent and courageous role models whose examples encourage her to work hard and know that success is possible. To the women of the 115th Congress, thank you for being those role models.
Steve Stivers is a member of Congress from Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.
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