The entry of more women in Congress is something that has gained momentum over the last few years. As depicted during the last midterms, more women are getting elected than ever before. However, even with this progress, there seems to be one point of concern. During a photo of all freshman members of Congress, Democrats had over 30 newly elected women while the Republicans only had two. As mail-in ballots started to come in, it emerged that one of the two Republican in the photo had actually lost. This meant that there was only one woman in the list of GOP freshmen. The list was largely dominated by white males.
These numbers got Representative Elise Stefanik thinking. The GOP lawmaker from New York believes that she may have a solution to solve this once and for all. During a meeting with fellow GOP lawmakers in Congress, Stefanik called it a “stark, wake-up call.” She was concerned that having so little women in the GOP party didn’t reflect the nation. Stefanik called on the party to do something about this and it seems Republicans are heeding the call.
The congresswoman is launching a political action committee that will solely focus on helping GOP women candidates win. Stefanik was hoping to raise over $100,000 as of April 1st for this goal but instead, she managed to raise over $285,000. The congresswoman didn’t, however, disclose the number of women they intend to recruit as part of the program. But it’s very likely that they will be going for over 100.
Stefanik rose to prominence in 2014 after she was elected to Congress as the youngest ever woman. She was 34 at the time. The achievement has since been eclipsed by other women who are all Democratic. Stefanik was interested in politics during her time at Harvard. She worked as a liaison with John F. Kennedy advisor Ted Sorensen who was a fellow in Harvard. The two hard different political views but they found a way to work together.
Stefanik also worked in Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. She was in charge of managing debate preparations for Romney’s Vice President pick Paul Ryan. At the time, Ryan was also a very young congressman. After being elected into office when he was just 29, Ryan had risen to become one of the most dominant voices in the GOP. It is through her work with Ryan that Stefanik started to believe that she could actually make an impact as a politician. She moved back to New York to run for the 21st District.
It was a tough primary for her but she had the support of Paul Ryan as well as other female Republicans that mentored her. Stefanik also had over $1 million in funding from American Crossroads, the super PAC that is backed by former US President George W. Bush’s adviser Karl Rove. It’s this kind of support structure that made it possible for Stefanik to win. She believes that extending such support to other women could be crucial too and that’s why the new committee has been formed.