New statewide campaign to get more women in Legislature - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New statewide campaign to get more women in Legislature

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A new bipartisan campaign aims to fill half of the state Legislature with women by 2020.

The campaign is called 50/50 in 2020, which is the year marking the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote.

"50/50 in 2020 just means we want political equity for women by the year 2020, and that will have been a century since women got the right to vote," 50/50 in 2020 co-founder Maggie Tinsman said.

Tinsman is one of the two executive board chairs. She is a Republican from the Quad Cities, the first woman elected to the Scott County board of supervisors and a state senator from 1989-2010.

On Wednesday, a board of 14 women from across the state made announcements in seven Iowa cities about the campaign kickoff.

Tinsman and Democrat Ann Hutchinson were in Dubuque Wednesday afternoon to announce the campaign kickoff. Hutchinson was the Bettendorf mayor from 1988-2002 and a Democratic nominee for US Congress in 2002.

"We are not talking to women about issues. We are not advocating for women. We are not raising money for women. We are simply trying to get women to take that next step, to run for elected office and to make sure that they're well-prepared for understanding how to run a state and a national campaign," Hutchinson said.

The Secretary of State's office says right now, 53 percent of registered Iowa voters are women. However, women fill only 23 percent of the seats in the Iowa Legislature, and the state has never had a woman governor or US senator or representative. Organizers say only one other state can say the same thing, and that's Mississippi.

The campaign plans on achieving its goals by "recruiting, training, and mentoring women in sufficient numbers," according to a brochure.

As part of its goals over the course of the next ten years, Tinsman said the campaign hopes to see a woman elected as governor in 2014, at least one woman elected as US representative in 2015, two US representatives and one US senator elected by 2017 and, of course, achieving the 50/50 goal by 2020.

"We're not even trying to be the majority. We're just trying to be equal," Tinsman said.

"This is the beginning of that effort and I think we're going to be successful," Hutchinson said.

Tinsman said 50/50 in 2020 is not a PAC and does not endorse candidates, although individual members are free to endorse candidates of their choosing.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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