As Hillary Clinton exits the race for the presidency, there has never been a more important time to focus on other women around the nation who have proven to be leaders of substance and talent. We’ve turned our spotlight on Kathleen Sebelius and Janet Napolitano, and now, it’s Claire McCaskill’s turn. By giving our attention to these talented public servants, we gleefully remind ourselves that feminism has more to offer than Hillary Clinton. These women may in fact be ready for the next step – Vice President McCaskill anyone?
Claire McCaskill is a Democratic Senator from the state of Missouri, and sheesh, talk about a supermom. She is the mother or stepmother to nine children. Nine. And I thought I was busy/tired/overwhelmed. For seven years, following a divorce and before remarrying, she juggled a career while being a single mother. She was also the first legislator in the Missouri legislature to give birth while in office. So, you know, she gets it.
While we’re on the subject of “firsts,” let’s look at a few others. McCaskill was the first women to serve as prosecutor from Jackson County (which includes Kansas City), Missouri. In this role, she began the county’s first domestic violence court. Then, in 2006, she became the first woman senator from Missouri.
While she represents a somewhat conservative state, she has taken on the Far Right on several significant issues, including stem cell research, gay marriage and abortion. She has also won accolades from environmentalists for her support of clean water, clean air and alternative fuel initiatives. Environmentalists are particularly thrilled, as she replaced one of the League of Conservation Voter’s “Dirty Dozen” politicians, Jim Talent, who consistently voted against environmental initiatives. And like Sebelius and Napolitano, she has been a tireless supporter of Barack Obama. LOVE it.
Now to the reason why she’s our third choice, behind Kathleen Sebelius and Janet Napolitano. By taking her out of the Senate, Democrats may lose their prized majority. Also, like Janet Napolitano, she needs a great deal of work when it comes to immigration and is actually to the right of George W. Bush. She has pushed for stronger “protections” at the border and has argued that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from “hard-working” Missourians. Certainly, nobody’s perfect.
While we do not look at our role models with an uncritical eye, it is nonetheless inspiring to know that politicians like Claire McCaskill are proving that women, and mothers in particular, can reach to the highest heights.