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National push for female politicians after presidential election

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SEATTLE -- Women make up 51% of the United States population, but only 20% of lawmakers in Congress.  That’s hardly equal representation which helped to spark ‘Emily’s List.

The Political Action Committee helps elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates.  Saturday, the group launched its “Run to Win 101 Series” in Seattle to inspire more women to run for office.

“I’m sorry that we did not win this election,” said former Presidential Candidate, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

It could have happened.  A female politician holding the highest office in the land.  But when it didn’t…

“After this election, we had over 15,000 women reach out to us because they are thinking about stepping forward and running for office,” said Emily’s List Vice President of National Outreach and Training Muthon Wambu Kraal.

“I never fully invested or did anything related to politics so this summer I wanted to change that 18,” said college student Samantha Wu-Georges.

So Samantha Wu-Georges joined the “Run to Win 101 Series” in Seattle to figure out how to get started.

“Having to run a campaign, to the financial support, to all the complexity,” said U-S Senator Maria Cantwell.

U-S Senator from Washington Maria Cantwell says female politicians have to be role models and mentors to other women.  But for her, it was her father who sparked her passion.

“If we were having a discussion, he encouraged me to be part of the discussion,” said Cantwell.

“I really am the kid of two active educators on the south side of Chicago. I also have a father from Kenya. The story may sound familiar,” said Wambu Kraal.

Wherever the interest sparks, Emily’s List aims to fuel the fire in the belly of women hoping to enact change.  A topic at Saturday’s training was the pending health care legislation.

“The healthcare legislation that Senate Republicans crafted behind closed doors with all men and came out with a bill that is incredibly hurtful for women in this country,” said Wambu Kraal.

Complex issues she says will take both men and women on both sides of the aisle to figure out.  So Cantwell says to get started, it’s simple.

“Find something you’re passionate about and advocate,” said Cantwell.

While women only make up 20% of the US Congress, we’re faring better in Washington.  In our state, the legislature is 36% female with a total of 53 lawmakers.