Push on to get more women to run for legislature

Themis Klarides (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a big push on to get more women to run for office in next year’s legislative elections.

Two Democratic State Senators have been named to launch two organizations aimed at finding and training women to run for House and Senate seats. Republicans say they are way ahead of the game.

A lot has been reported about how Democrats made significant gains in last week’s municipal elections but it was also a big night for women. New Haven, New Britain, Bristol and West Hartford elected women mayors, and many women were elected to city and town boards. Now the aim is for more gains at the ballot by women in 2018.

Democratic State Senator Beth Bye of West Hartford says Democratic women were energized by the 2016 results and fear losing ground on things like women’s health and the environment. She’s founding board member of a group called PoliticaCT.  “The organization is going to be focused on four to five House or Senate races that we believe, are not currently occupied by progressive women, where progressive women can win those races,” said Bye.

Another Democratic group is focused on training women candidates. Senator Mae Flexer of Danielson has been named Executive Director and says “We’re really excited that ‘Emerge Connecticut’ has launched here and that we’re going to be the  premier training place for Democratic women who want to run for office to have the skills to be successful on election day November 2018.”

The highest ranking Republican woman at the Capitol, House Minority Leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) is contemplating her own run for Governor.  She convinced her own sister to run and win a legislative seat last year and says, “We believe that the more women we have builds up our caucuses in a way; women have different perspectives, they have different skill sets, they have different solution solving skills.”

And Klarides points out that the House Republican caucus already has the largest number and the largest percentage of women state lawmakers at the Capitol.

30% of Republican members of the House are women. 40% of Democratic members of the Senate are women.

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