Nevada might become the first state in the nation’s history to have a female majority in its state legislature. As Lucia Starbuck reports, after the 2018 midterm elections this possibility could become a reality.
The recent event was called “Nevada Leads the Way for Women in Politics”. Photo by Lucia Starbuck.
At the level of state politics, women currently represent 38 percent of Nevada’s legislature, ranked third most in the United States, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
One of the main speakers, Teresa Benitez-Thompson, who represents Nevada’s Assembly District 27 is running for reelection. She is hoping that number will soon top 50 percent.
“A lot of people are fascinated by what happens at the national level and their interest in politics stops there, so any chance I have to drop people’s eyes down to the state level and the local level is an opportunity for me to educate them about what could happen in their own backyard,” Benitez-Thompson said.
Analysts say it will be a close call for a female dominated legislature to actually happen.
Jennifer Ring, a professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno, says she wouldn’t be surprised if women do gain a majority of seats after the November 6 election. “I think that western states have a pretty strong tradition of women doing stuff,” she said.
National Issues and Campus Inspiration
Another panelist, Marsha Berkbigler, a local county commissioner, believes more women will vote in this midterm, which could have an impact.
“I think you will see women out voting because they feel like perhaps Congress is not listening to their concerns,” she said.
The female president of the UNR student body Hannah Jackson was impressed by the panel. The student senate here in Reno currently has a female majority.
Jackson believes female student voters will be inspired by what’s happening on their own campus.
“I think it’s the same kind of effect people on this campus can see that there’s a lot of strong female leaders. It makes them believe that they can do that too,” Jackson said.
There have also been regular workshops such as one called “Elect Her,” which train college women to run for student government.
It won’t be until Nov. 6th that Nevada will see if it will become the first state with a female majority in its legislature.
Reporting by Lucia Starbuck for the Reynolds Media Lab
Original Article: https://medium.com/rsjvote/will-nevada-have-1st-female-majority-legislature-c80b9fa84881