Governing announced the selection of 25 women elected leaders to the Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2018. The women selected to the program are changing the face of politics in America, from council chambers to statehouses, during a tumultuous time in American history. Their service, courage and commitment to advancing good government is celebrated with their invitation to this national network.

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 mentor the next generation of women leaders to run for office. The 75 alumnae of the program are now “paying it forward” by recruiting women candidates around the U.S. and supporting initiatives to support women in appointed, elected and staff positions in government.

“Gender parity in politics continues to stagnate in this country with women elected to only 23 percent of all local and state offices,” said Cathilea Robinett, president of Governing. “2018 will be a bellwether year for female candidates, however, as thousands have registered for training programs since the most recent general election. At Governing, we are proud to contribute to this movement through the Women in Government Leadership Program. We see first-hand the difference women make in the lives of millions of constituents. Congratulations to the 25 women selected for the Class of 2018.”

Nominations were received for nearly 150 women for the Class of 2018. The class was selected based on career and educational accomplishments, personal recommendations, a commitment to actively participate and the goal of seating a diverse class. 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 2018, Indiana State Rep. Robin Shackleford, was selected in July 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 2018 are subject matter experts, negotiators, civic activists and pioneers,” said Julia Burrows, director of the Governing Institute. “Each year, the program adds to a national network, with 25 new members who establish deep friendships, provide consultation and campaign support and recruit future female candidates. The common goals of gender parity and advancing good government forge a bond that rises above partisanship and will pay dividends for many generations.”

Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2018

The Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2018 includes women from twenty different states holding a variety of elected offices in state and local government.

The Honorable Allison Ball
Kentucky State Treasurer

The Honorable Alisha Bell
Commissioner, Wayne County, Michigan

The Honorable Rosalynn Bliss
Mayor, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Honorable Cindy Bobbitt
Commissioner, Grant County, Oklahoma

The Honorable Affie Ellis
Wyoming State Senator

The Honorable Vivian Davis Figures
Alabama State Senator

The Honorable Lena Fowler
Supervisor, Coconino County, AZ

The Honorable Nellie M. Gorbea
Rhode Island Secretary of State

The Honorable Toi Hutchinson
Ohio State Senator

The Honorable Brenda A. Howerton
Commissioner, Durham County, North Carolina

The Honorable Themis Klarides
Connecticut State Representative

The Honorable Debra March
Mayor, Henderson, Nevada

The Honorable Melissa McKinlay
Vice Mayor, Palm Beach County, Florida

The Honorable Kim McMillan
Mayor, Clarksville, Tennessee

The Honorable Helena N. Moreno
Louisiana State Representative

The Honorable Kim K. Ogg
District Attorney, Harris County, Texas

The Honorable Marian Orr
Mayor, Cheyenne, Wyoming

The Honorable Catherine E. Pugh
Mayor, Baltimore, Maryland

The Honorable Connie Rockco
Supervisor, Harrison County, Mississippi

The Honorable Attica Scott
Kentucky State Representative

The Honorable Robin Shackleford
Indiana State Representative
SLLF Lois M. DeBerry Scholar

The Honorable Emilia Sykes
Ohio State Representative

The Honorable Acquanetta Warren
Mayor, City of Fontana, California

The Honorable Kimberly Yee
Arizona State Senator

Macy Amos
Assistant Metropolitan Attorney, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County, TN
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 2018 issue of Governing magazine and will participate in Governing events throughout the coming year. The Class of 2018 will gather for their first leadership conference November 4–5 in Phoenix, 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