Although the media deemed 1992 “the year of the woman,” history repeated itself in the Nov. 5 elections as six women were elected governors and scores of others were elected to serve in Congress.
The latest victory for women came Sunday when Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon conceded to Attorney General Janet Napolitano in the race for Arizona governor. Women now hold the position of governor in Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan and Montana.
With two of the women reelected, it is the largest number of incumbent female governors in U.S. history, according to the National Committee for an Effective Congress.
The Associated Press reported Napolitano was winning by 11,423 votes with 12,000 ballots left to be counted. Napolitano had been leading by 46.2 percent of the votes as of Sunday night. Napolitano will succeed another women, Gov. Jane Hall in January 2003.
This year there were 73 women serving in the United States Congress, accounting for 13.6 percent of the 107th Congress as reported by the Center for American Women Politics. The center also reports that there are 13 women serving in the U.S. senate and 60 serving in the house. These numbers are all time highs.
Joyce Butler, the president of the Capital City Chapter of Florida Women in Government Inc., said she believes more women are being elected to office because they can relate to more issues that concern voters.
“We have a lot of woman leaders who know a lot about such issues as abortions and having smaller classroom sizes and women are showing they can be leaders not only in the home but in the community,” Butler said.
The Florida Department of State has released the second set of unofficial results from the 2002 elections. The results show that four women have been elected for the new term as U.S. representatives. They are Corrine Brown, Dem.-District 3, Virginia Brown-White, Rep.-District 5, Katherine Harris, Rep.-District 13 and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep.-District 18.
The Department of State results also show that there were eight women elected as state senators and 24 as state representatives. There were three races in which women had 100 percent of the votes, the winners were Anna Cowin for state senator of district 20, with 118, 209 votes, Fredrica Wilson for state senator of district 33, with 72,612 votes and Dorothy Bendeross-Mindingall for state representative of district 109, with 22,273 votes.
Some women involved in politics said they feel that this years elections show the great progress that women are making as political leaders but feel there is still more work to be done.
“I think it is a very big change, yet there is still work to be done. Women can get more involved by learning more about public policy and other issues. Women involved can have a great impact on the voting community,” said MonÃ©e Williams, the president of the FAMU chapter of the National Council for Negro Women.
Voters both male and female seem to be happy with this years election results. Jeremiah Davis, AGE, a sophomore mechanical engineering student from Hollywood, said he hopes that having more women in office will bring great change to our government.
“Hopefully, women will get things done with a more strategic method and more efficiently,” he said. “Women (candidates) sometimes seem to make more conscious decisions then their male counterparts.”