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May 30 2017
by Diana Pope

How College Students Benefit from Women's Victories in Recent State Elections

By Diana Pope - May 30 2017
The women's marches held after Donald Trump's inauguration marked a historic occasion, in which women all around the nation felt empowered enough to voice their dissent on a large scale. College students were among those who headed to major cities and vocalized their support for the greater empowerment of women. Since then, women have started running for public office in record numbers, in an effort to reverse the current trajectory of the Trump Administration. This past month, women in New Hampshire, New York and Virginia scored major victories in local and state elections, adding to the inspiration to get involved for college women interested in politics.

In New Hampshire, Democratic candidate Edie Desmarais was able to win in a heavily red district, one that went to Donald Trump by a margin of seven percentage points during the national election this past year. She defeated Republican Matthew Panche by a margin of four percentage points. Desmarais is a retired teacher and will now be serving in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

In New York, Christine Pellegrino became the first Democrat to be elected in her deeply conservative district in Long Island. Trump won this district by twenty-two percentage points, so this was a truly surprising win on Pellegrino's part. Pellegrino has called her win a "thunderbolt of resistance" and yearns to institute a more progressive agenda in this area of New York.

Along with these elections, women have witnessed massive gains in other statess this past year as well. For example, in Delaware, Democrat Stephanie Hansen won a 58 percent to 41 percent victory over Republican realtor John Marino. This allows for Hansen to now hold a seat in the Delaware state Senate. 

The biggest political inspiration for college-aged women this past election was Hillary Clinton, who has been relentlessly empowering women to consider going into politics since she became a senator. No matter your political party, if you are a female college student going into politics, your way has been made easier by her. In her recent commencement speech at Wellesley College, Clinton called for college women to not lose their ambition to run for public office, and stated that everyone should use their "ambition, dreams and anger" to make a difference in the world. 

Overall, this year has proved how women are making historic gains in elections all across the country. A record number of women are running for office in the Virginia House of Delegates. In Washington state, a female Democratic candidate is running for the position of state prosecutor in a special election. Many organizations like "Emily's List" and "She Should Run" are encouraging women to become more involved with politics and run for positions in public office. To this end, over 13,000 women have indicated their interest in running for office in local, state and national elections. Hopefully, this surge in candidacy will result in more female representation in politics, more interest from college students and the evening out of the gender bias in both local and national politics.

Lead Image Credit: glennia via Flickr Creative Commons

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Diana Pope - University of Tennessee Knoxville

Diana is a political science major who also enjoys journalism, history, and philosophy. She loves writing, researching, and debating about politics. In her free time, she enjoys Grey's anatomy marathons and reading detective fiction.

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