Here are some sad statistics:
- I am one of just 17 women in the US Senate.
- Just 17% of all of Congress is made up of women.
- There are currently only 6 women governors in the US today.
- Less than 25% of state legislature seats are filled by women.
And, as if those numbers weren't bad enough, this year, for the first time in decades, the number of women in Congress actually declined at the start of this Congress.
This is a trend we absolutely must reverse.
That is precisely why I created Off The Sidelines, a new effort to serve as a rallying cry to mobilize women and urge them to make their voices heard. The truth is, the best way to ensure that our values are represented is if we run and win and represent them ourselves. That's what I did in 2006; it's what Kathy Hochul did earlier this year in NY-26; and that's exactly what 5 strong pro-choice Democratic women are doing in Wisconsin as they run in recall elections against Scott Walker's allies on August 9th.
I hope you'll join me in supporting these 5 extraordinary women on ActBlue. Their election is only 6 days away and the usual right wing suspects are dumping millions of dollars into Wisconsin to defeat them. The only thing that is going to take these women over the finish line is your grassroots activism.
Nancy Nusbaum, former President of Wisconsin NARAL and former Mayor of DePere, WI, is running against Rob Cowles in WI-SD-02.
Sandy Pasch, a member of the Wisconsin state Assembly since 2008, is running against Alberta Darling in WI-SD-08.
Shelly Moore, a former high school teacher who was elected to the National Education Association (NEA) Board of Directors in 2005, is running against Sheila Harsdorf in WI-SD-10.
Jessica King, Deputy Mayor of Oshkosh, WI, is running against Randy Hopper in WI-SD-18.
Jennifer Shilling, a Wisconsin state Assemblywoman since 2000, is running against Dan Kapanke in WI-SD-32.
I couldn't be more pleased that out of the 6 recall elections against Republicans in Wisconsin next week, 5 of the Democratic candidates are women. If they all win, the percentage of the Wisconsin state senate that are women will rise from around 25% to a third. That is the very essence of getting off the sidelines.
With just under a week until the recall elections, now is the time to contribute whatever you can to these 5 excellent candidates. Not only will your support help ensure that Democrats retake the Wisconsin state senate and block Governor Walker's extreme agenda, but it will increase the representation of women in Wisconsin government.
I truly hope that in 2012, we will see a resurgence in women's participation at all levels of public life. Let's kickstart that resurgence this year by helping to elect these 5 women to the state senate in Wisconsin.
Follow Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SenGillibrand