Posted November 7, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Leaders We Adore

In general, here at Career Girl, we stand clear of political content unless it truly pertains to careers and the women we connect with. But today, the country has spoken, and Career Girl will, too. Take a look for a moment at the graphic above. It represents the number of women in the United States Senate…..before yesterday. But in the biggest gain for women in national elected office in recent history, this graphic has become outdated. In yesterday’s election, the U.S. Senate male:female ratio changed considerably. There are now a record 20 women in the U.S. Senate.

But this moment was more personal for me than I can truly describe. Last night, watching the returns, my mind flashed back to the year 2000. I was in high school at the time, not able to vote. It was the first time I really poured my heart and soul into politics and my heart and soul into a candidate. I was “Team Heidi” when North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp ran for Governor of North Dakota.  Many of my friends and I worked hard that year and believed fully in what Heidi would do for our state. Mid-election cycle, Heidi was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought her illness and survived, but it had an irreversible effect on her campaign. I can remember, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. on that night in November in 2000, sobbing from my young 16-year-old body, not understanding how someone could work so hard for something and see it slip through their fingers.

Watching Heidi Heitkamp become the first female elected to Congress from North Dakota makes me proud of my home state, and it brings full circle a battle we began in 2000. I sobbed again this morning, but this time in excitement for Heidi. (Note: The vote is close enough to warrant a recount, but Heitkamp is confident in her win.) I want to share with you what Heidi said during her victory speech last night:

We said in the very beginning that this was going to be an election and not an auction; guess what we had tonight? I’m here to tell you I have every confidence in the world that I’m going to be the next United States senator from North Dakota.

Across the country, women everywhere asked for an election. We asked for equal consideration, fair weighing of our strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunity to lead in a country that has far too long allowed 50% of the population to be a special interest group. The needle has moved today, for women, no matter your party.

Here they are, Career Girls. Print them out, put them on your wall, and know these areour leaders:

1. AK Lisa Murkowski (R)
2. CA Barbara Boxer (D)
3. CA Dianne Feinstein (D)
4. LA Mary Landrieu (D)
5. ME Susan Collins (R)
6. MD Barbara Mikulski (D)
7. MI Debbie Stabenow (D)
8. MN Amy Klobuchar (D)
9. MO Claire McCaskill (D)
10. NC Kay Hagan (D)
11. NH Kelly Ayotte (R)
12. NH Jeanne Shaheen (D)
13. NY Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
14. WA Patty Murray (D)
15. WA Maria Cantwell (D)
16. MA US Sen Elizabeth Warren (D)
17. HI Maizi Hirono [D]
18. NE Deb Fischer [R]
19. ND Heidi Heitkamp [D]
20. WI Tammy Baldwin [D]

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."