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Utah’s Republican women are stepping forward to lead

The Utah flag flies over the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.
The Utah flag flies over the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

In Utah, 25% of state legislators are female; however, just 9% (9/ of 104) are Republican women. In a supermajority Republican state, there is value in having more female conservative voices at the table. We are mothers, daughters, wives, employees, entrepreneurs, influencers, business owners, educators and more that help make Utah a great place to live. We have a unique perspective that should be included and considered in the policymaking process.

So often when we discuss female candidates, we combine both Republican and Democrat women in the same category and assume they decide to run and experience candidacy in the same way. Research shows that this is not the case.

Nationally, the percentage of Republican women serving in state legislatures is 9% — the same today as in 1995. In comparison, Democrat women now make up 20% of state legislatures around the country. Just two Republican women have ever held statewide elected office in Utah, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and former Gov. Olene Walker. Two female Republican House members from Utah have served in Congress, but no senators.

Since 1985, Democrats have been running the popular political action committee “EMILY’s” list, which has raised $600 million for their candidates. What many people do not know is that EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast.” Recognizing the importance of funding early on for a candidate’s success, the GOP launched the Winning is for Women PAC, a federal PAC to support Republican women running for national office. From our experience as candidates, we know that financial resources early on can make a huge difference in a political race, for all levels of elected office.

To encourage more conservative women to run for office, the nine Republican state legislators have launched the Republican Women Lead state PAC to recruit, train, mentor and provide financial resources for Republican women running for all levels of elected office. It is time to step up our game and recruit, train and mentor more Republican women to run for office in a concentrated, formalized and targeted effort.

To learn more about the Republican Women Lead PAC and donate, visit www.republicanwomenlead.com.

Rep. Candice Pierucci, Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, Rep. Kera Birkeland, Rep. Melissa Ballard, Rep. Susan Pulsipher, Rep. Christine Watkins, Rep. Cheryl Acton, and Rep. Marsha Judkins are Utah state representatives. Sen. Ann Millner is a Utah state senator