A woman with political aspirations could do much worse than hailing from New Hampshire. After all, the state just elected the nation’s first all-female delegation to Congress, as well as voting in a female governor.
New Hampshire has a history of “firsts” in regard to women in politics. In 1999, it was the first state where women held the positions of governor, Senate president, and speaker of the House, all at the same time. In 2008, a female majority was elected to its state Senate. That’s the same year that it became the first state to back a female candidate, Hillary Clinton, as the presidential nominee of a major political party.
Obviously, the citizens of the state are comfortable with looking beyond gender when they mark their ballots, but it’s remarkable to see how rapidly that progress has taken place. Just six years ago, in 2006, Carol Shea-Porter became the first female elected to Congress from New Hampshire. Now, she’s one of four: two Democratic Representatives, a Democratic Senator and a Republican Senator. The other Representative, Ann McLane Kuster, represents the final flowering of family aspirations. Her grandmother was a suffragette and her mother ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1980. Just thirty-one years ago, “many voters would not consider voting for her because she was a woman,” said McLane Kuster.
Striking a hopeful note for what the delegation’s election means for the workings of Congress, McLane Kuster told NBC:
I think if you’ve ever raised teenagers or toddlers, you know how to find the common ground. The voters sense that. They know that we need common sense solutions in Congress and people that can set aside their differences and come together to solve our challenges.
Since New Hampshire’s delegation is bipartisan as well as all-female, one can only hope its influence on coöperation will also be ground-breaking.