05/10/2012 12:35 pm ET Updated Jul 10, 2012

One Chance for a Democratic Woman Governor

At the end of 2012 we could be faced with a nation that has zero Democratic women governors. Zero. For the first time in over 15 years. And that's not a step back that I am willing to take.

At EMILY's List, we work to elect Democratic women to every level of office. And it's every level of office for a reason.

Electing Democratic women governors has never been more crucial. And at this critical moment for women in America we only have one chance. That chance is Maggie Hassan. And Maggie is playing to win.

Maggie is running the kind of campaign that wins in New Hampshire. She's building a winning coalition for November and she's hitting the ground running. We have to start now -- we can't wait while the Republicans coalesce around a hard-right extremist like Ovide LaMontagne. The stakes are simply too high -- for New Hampshire and our nation.

Maggie has been a powerful force in New Hampshire politics for years, and I can't think of anyone I'd rather see take residence in the governor's seat. And she's running a strong campaign that will take her there.

In the State Senate, Maggie helped pass an innovative program that provides businesses with alternatives to laying off workers and increased worker training. She also knows that in order to have a brighter future for our country and our economy we need to start early. So she worked to improve New Hampshire's education system, by helping to pass legislation for universal access to kindergarten, raising the high school dropout age and increasing funding for community colleges and universities.

She understands that women want to focus on jobs and the economy and policies that will help their families, not on policies that restrict their rights. As Maggie said, "You don't strengthen the economy by limiting women's rights." And she's right.

Not only is Maggie a fantastic candidate, but she represents a larger movement. Her victory would be a rebuke of the regressive extremist GOP agenda playing out not only in Congress, but in state capitols across the country.

A state with a Democratic woman as governor would not see its equal pay protection repealed. A state with a Democratic woman governor would not see mandates for invasive, medically unnecessary ultrasounds. A Democratic woman governor would not defund Planned Parenthood and put the health of millions of women at risk.

In 2011, there were over 1,100 pieces of anti-choice legislation introduced in state capitols. 1,100 pieces of legislation, 1,100 times the GOP told women they weren't qualified to make their own decisions, 1,100 attempts to turn back the clock. It was a record year in the worst of ways.

At the end of 2012 two EMILY's List heroes, Governors Chris Gregoire and Bev Perdue, will be retiring. They are the only Democratic women governors in the country, and when they leave office it's possible there won't be any Democratic women to take their place.

Women legislators recognize the difference between legislating for women and families and legislating at them. When more women hold office it changes the conversation. It changes from a conversation about women to a conversation with women -- and that difference is huge.

That's why it's so important to us to elect woman up and down the ballot. So that women are in every office. So that women can not only be involved in discussions at the state capitols but can set the agenda for their states. They can return the focus to issues important to women and families.

As a former Majority Leader of the state Senate, Maggie knows the politics of the state inside and out and will be able to set an agenda that does just that. That's why at EMILY's List we're so excited to stand with Maggie Hassan in her campaign to become the governor of New Hampshire.