Archive for October, 2009
Not to boast, but let’s face it, we Jersey Girls have had some groundbreaking accomplishments. From Clara Barton and Alice Stokes Paul to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Millicent Fenwick, we hail from a long line of independent thought and policy leaders, women who have done much to make the world an infinitely better and more equitable place.
So how should a Jersey Girl assess the New Jersey gubernatorial race?
How should we size up the men vying for the state’s top office?
Certainly, each of the candidates can legitimately claim some admirable accomplishments.
It is also evident that each candidate has proven himself adept at slinging mud.
During this hotly contested campaign we have heard every point and counterpoint imaginable on issues ranging from health, education and wealth to mammograms, babysitting versus day care and even the weighty issue of, yes, weight.
In point of fact, each of the candidates seems to wish to frame these issues as “women’s issues.” That is not surprising given the fact that political pundits have said the female vote is the fulcrum on which the election will turn.
However, in my view, reforming public education, improving and expanding health care, creating business opportunities for women and minorities, protecting children, etc., are not simply “women’s issues” but human issues, family issues important to us all.
Still, we need to assess the commitment of the candidates to the advancement of women and their issues.
To this Jersey Girl, the key lies in the numbers.
Prior to Gov. Jon Corzine taking office, New Jersey ranked 43rd out of 50 states of women serving in the state legislature, according to a Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics study. Today, New Jersey ranks 11th in the nation. The New Jersey assembly is 30 percent women.
To put that in perspective, women make up only 17 percent of the U.S. Congress.
Some will say that the increase in New Jersey is the work of the electorate, and to that I would agree. However, there can be no disputing that Gov. Corzine has set the tone at the top by paving the way for women to flourish in positions of power and authority.
Since taking office in 2006, Gov. Corzine has named a record number of women to his staff and cabinet. Of the 22 cabinet-level positions in his administration, eight are filled by women – 36 percent of Corzine’s cabinet.
Gov. Corzine has appointed the highest percentage of women to the judiciary among any New Jersey governor in history. Out of 68 judges, he has appointed 22 women – 32 percent.
In recognition of these appointments, the Star Ledger exclaimed: “For the first time, more than half of the leadership positions in the New Jersey judiciary will be held by women, blacks or Hispanics.” Due to Gov. Corzine’s policies, “women and minorities have accounted for about 40 percent of new appointments to the bench.”
Throughout Gov. Corzine’s time in office, he has worked to improve women’s health and safeguard women’s rights. He prioritized early childhood education and reformed the public education system. He established family leave insurance to help working families care for a new child or a sick family member. He has been a champion for diversity and equal opportunity. And, he supports a woman’s right to choose.
After lengthy review of the candidates’ records relating to the advancement of women to senior levels of power and responsibility and to issues of import to women and families, this Jersey Girl unequivocally endorses and supports Gov. Jon Corzine.
With a nod to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: Big Girls Don’t Cry. Big Girls Vote.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 21 so far )