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Mississippi plants seeds to elect state's first woman to Congress

Jennifer Gregory is headed to Rutgers University later this week to scope out a program that trains women to run for office. She plans to set up a similar program back in Mississippi — and maybe even help a candidate make history as the first woman from the state elected to Congress.

“We need to do a better job of empowering women and of training them,’’ said Gregory, program director for the Stennis Center for Public Service in Starkville, Miss. “We need more women in positions of influence. Hopefully that will materialize into a woman running for Congress and ultimately being elected.”

It’s a formidable challenge. Mississippi is one of only two states never to elect a woman to Congress. The other is Vermont. But the smaller, more liberal-leaning state has elected a woman to serve as governor, and Mississippi has not....

...There have only been four women elected to statewide offices in Mississippi, said Republican state Treasurer Lynn Fitch.

“Mississippi is a hard place to serve as a leader in the political arena,'' said Fitch, who is serving her second term. "We’re certainly due to have women move to that leadership role in the U.S. Congress ... We’ve just been slow to cultivate individuals to move to that next step."

Fitch and experts say fewer women in the Statehouse or Congress mean some issues, such as pay equity, may not be prioritized.

USA Today

Posted March 9, 2017 - 6:25 am

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