Governing Institute Announces Women in Government Leadership Class of 2017
Twenty-five new participants selected for the yearlong program designed to promote and support elected women leaders from across the nation.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 2, 2016 – The United States is one of the worst-performing developed countries in the world when it comes to the number of women in politics.* Since 2000, the nationwide percentage of women in state legislatures has stagnated, and the 2010 election saw a decline in the number of women in Congress. In an effort to help encourage and support women in government, the Governing Institute today announced the 25 members of the Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2017.

Governing Institute’s Women in Government Leadership Program brings together outstanding elected women leaders from across the nation to acknowledge their contributions, provide leadership development, and to mentor the next generation of women leaders to run for office. The first two classes completed their yearlong curriculums in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The 50 alumnae of the program are now “paying it forward” recruiting women candidates around the U.S.

“The issue of parity is important for women, for families, for our economy and for the country. We are woefully behind other nations in terms of gender equality,” said Cathilea Robinett, president of Governing and e.Republic. “Women at the state and local level in both parties need and deserve our support, which is why we launched the Women in Government Leadership Program. Our goal is to build a powerful, national network of state and local elected women leaders.”

More than 125 women were nominated for the Class of 2017. The class was selected based on career and educational accomplishments, recommendations, a commitment to actively participate and the goal of seating a diverse class in a number of categories. Each class also includes one rising star, a young woman not yet serving in elected office, but with the interest and potential to run in the future.

The first member of the Class of 2017, California State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, was selected last month as the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) Lois M. DeBerry Scholar. The annual scholarship acknowledges the pioneering work of Rep. DeBerry of Tennessee and encourages recipients to carry the spirit of leadership forward in support of women in elected office as Rep. DeBerry did for 41 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

“The women in the Class of 2017 are among the most influential and devoted elected leaders in state and local government,” said Julia Burrows, director of the Governing Institute. “Each year, the program adds to a national collaborative, with 25 new members who establish deep friendships, support their respective campaigns and recruit future female candidates. The common goals of gender parity and better governance forge a bond that rises above partisanship and will pay dividends for literally generations into the future.”

Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2017

The Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2017 includes women from 19 different states holding a variety of elected offices in state and local government.

The Honorable Diane Allen
New Jersey State Senator

The Honorable Megan Barry
Mayor, Nashville, Tennessee

The Honorable Ruby Brabo
Supervisor, King George County, Virginia

The Honorable Cynthia I. Cloud
Wyoming State Auditor

The Honorable Suzanne Crouch
Indiana State Auditor

The Honorable Debra M. Davis
Commissioner, Charles County, Maryland

The Honorable Eileen Filler-Corn
Virginia State Delegate

The Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson
Mayor, Gary, Indiana

The Honorable Cindy Hyde-Smith
Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture & Commerce

The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine
Councilwoman, Columbia, South Carolina

The Honorable Rebecca M. Benally
County Commissioner, San Juan County, UT

The Honorable Merceria L. Ludgood
Commissioner, Mobile County, Alabama

Nicole Cid
Deputy District Attorney, Placer County, California

The Honorable Lydia L. Mihalik
Mayor, Findlay, Ohio

The Honorable Holly J. Mitchell
California State Senator
SLLF Lois M. DeBerry Scholar

The Honorable Cherelle L. Parker
Councilwoman, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Honorable Deb Peters
South Dakota State Senator

The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle
Board President, Cook County, Illinois

The Honorable Julie Stokes
Louisiana State Representative

The Honorable Crystal Rhoades
Nebraska Public Services Commissioner

The Honorable Nily Rozic
New York State Assemblywoman

The Honorable Evelyn Sanguinetti
Illinois Lieutenant Governor

The Honorable Hillary Schieve
Mayor, Reno, Nevada

The Honorable Chelsa Wagner
Controller, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

The Honorable Betty T. Yee
California State Controller

Rising Star

Each class is chosen from nominations submitted online at Women must be elected to a state or local office and not on the ballot or running unopposed during the program year.

The 25 women in the program’s new class will be profiled in the February 2017 issue of Governing magazine and will participate in Governing events throughout the coming year. The Class of 2017 will gather for their first leadership conference November 13-14 in Chandler, Arizona.

About the Governing Institute
The Governing Institute advances better government by improving performance and outcomes through research, decision support and executive education to help public sector leaders govern more effectively.

Governing is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

For more information:
Julia Burrows
Director, Governing Institute

* McKinsey Global Institute, 2016.