We hear a lot in the media about how women are shut out of the American political process. Don’t believe it. Did you know that no less than nine of the nation’s 50 governor’s chairs are currently filled by women? Sure, it’s just under 20 percent, but that’s a lot better than some folks would have you believe. And these are women of substance, not fretting Frannies worrying about diet pills. The list includes six Democrats and three Republicans.
Here’s a rundown:
Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) was 42 upon taking office, making her the youngest governor in Alaskan history as well as the first woman to hold the office. A former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she took office on Monday, December 4, 2006.
Janet Napolitano (D-Arizona) was originally elected in 2002 after leaving the Clinton White House. She is the third female governor to serve in Arizona and the first to win re-election. She was been a US attorney in the AG’s office under Bill Clinton’s watch, and served as Anita Hill’s lawyer.
M. Jodi Rell (R-Connecticut) is the state’s second female governor, taking office in 2004, after serving under John G. Rowland, who resigned due to a corruption investigation. She was re-elected to own her own term in 2006.
Ruth Ann Minner (D-Delaware) is in the middle of her second term as the state’s first female governor. She was first elected in 2001 after serving as lieutenant governor under Tom Carper.
Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii) is a genuine pioneer. She is the first Republican elected governor in Hawaii in 40 years, first county mayor elected governor ever, first female elected governor ever, the first Jewish governor in the state, the first twice-divorced governor, and the first not to have any children. She first took office in 2002 and won re-election in 2006.
Kathleen G. Sebelius (D-Kansas) is the second female governor in the state’s history. She took office in 2003 and won re-election in 2006; due to a term-limit law in the state, her current term will be her last, and she will be scheduled to leave office in 2011, following the 2010 elections.
Kathleen Blanco (D-Louisiana) took office in 2004 and has come under criticism for her handling of Hurricane Katrina. She has strained relations with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who endorsed her Republican opponent when she ran for office. She is the fourth-oldest governor in the US and the first woman to win the state house in Louisiana history. She is scheduled to run for re-election in 2007, but Hurricane Katrina fallout may put her bid in jeopardy.
Jennifer Granholm (D-Michigan) took office in 2003 and won re-election in 2006, but due to term limits, it will be her last term as governor of Michigan. She is Michigan’s first female governor.
Christine O’Grady Gregoire (D-Washington) took office in 2005, becoming the state’s second female governor. Her campaign was notable for a slim victory margin that at first seemed to favor GOP opponent Gino Rossi, but following a recount launched her into the State House. She won’t face re-election into 2008. She is a survivor of a bout with breast cancer.