Pulse: Chatter: Politics: State of Denial
November’s election wasn’t just a win for Democrats; a record number of women around the country gained elective office. Around the country meaning “not Pennsylvania.”
Though the state boasts one of the largest congressional delegations in the country — and currently counts more female residents than male — Pennsylvania has only one female representative. “We have not gotten beyond the one or two threshold,” says Allyson Lowe, of the Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy at Chatham College in Pittsburgh. “We have one, we have two, we lose one, we gain one, we lose one.” The total fell to one when constituents pushed out Republican Melissa Hart in the western part of the state, leaving Philadelphia-area Democrat Allyson Schwartz as the lone woman representing Pennsylvania in Washington. Three other women also lost bids for Congress.
Things could be worse — though not much. In Harrisburg, where — thanks to the pay-raise scandal — nearly 20 percent of legislative seats turned over last year, two more women were elected to the House and one more to the Senate. Such gains mean that in percentage of women officeholders, we now rank — hooray! — 46th in the nation, a few notches above Mississippi.