Women running for political office say gender plays a role

7 months 2 weeks 4 days ago November 06, 2016 Nov 6, 2016 Sunday, November 06 2016 Sunday, November 06, 2016 10:35:00 PM CST in News
By: Lauren Donovan, KOMU 8 Reporter

BOONE COUNTY — Boone County voters will see five women on the ballot come Tuesday. Currently the Missouri General Assembly is just under 27 percent female and the Senate is made up of roughly 19 percent women. 

Three of these five women: Teresa Hensley (D), Judy Baker (D) and Brianna Lennon (D) said their political careers were shaped in one way or another by their gender.

"We always have to have a stronger record and portray ourselves in a really careful position," said Hensley who is running for Attorney General. 

If Hensley wins she will be the first woman to hold the position in the state of Missouri. 

Judy Baker is running for the state office of treasurer on what she calls a "shoe-string" budget.

“Throughout my political career I have found that not only myself, but other women that I know struggle more than the men to raise funds," Baker said. 

The Center for Women and American Politics reported in 2008 56 percent of women who are state representatives said they had a hard time raising money. Only 9 percent of men said they felt the same. 

 “I think the biggest hurdle women have sometimes is themselves, women still have to be asked to run and they have to be told you’re capable and competent to do this," Baker said. 

Brianna Lennon, running for the position of the Southern District Commissioner of Boone County agreed with Baker. “Just seeing women in office helps make people feel more comfortable to throw their hat in the ring… I know I did," said. 

She said though, that Boone County has a unique attitude towards women. “One of the things that stands out is that Boone County has a majority female of the commission- so there are so few women who are getting involved at the county level across the state. Its so nice to see Boone County really embracing female leadership.”

KOMU 8 News reached out to Republican women running for office, but received no responses. 

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