The women of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Speaker Wannabee Issue (only):
They are now 40 in number heading into the new session. That’s 25% of the House. Forty is enough to keep anyone from being Speaker of the House…Forty is enough to decide which way the wind will blow and for whom…Forty united that is…
Rather than consolidate their power and use that hammer to get something in return on the issues they share, many are satisfied to sit on the back of whomever’s bus they find themselves …and settle for the choice they are given.
Why aren’t they uniting around an agenda and going to Speaker DiMasi and saying we will stand with you if you will expand the number of women in leadership roles, and continue to keep your progressive commitments on choice and gender equity in pay and insurance, etc……
Why aren’t they standing as a solid force in front of Rogers and DeLeo and telling them that their conservative pro-life agendas will not do and to get their votes iron clad promises will have to be made in blood and 50% of leadership positions will go to women… ( A small group of female legislators with a purposeful agenda tipped the scales in the Finneran-Voke battle…far less than 40)
More pointedly, why are they even accepting Rogers and DeLeo, two pro-life conservatives, as the only options should the Speaker decide to stepdown? Why aren’t they coming up with a woman who could succeed the Speaker and lead the House far better than either DeLeo or Rogers, who have shown little enthusiasm for women’s issues to date… DeLeo had a meeting in Worcester to count noses, how many women were there in the back rows?
Who has the political courage and strategic acumen to step up NOW when their “power of 40” will never be more potent.
(Disclosure: I like Speaker DiMasi, on most liberal issues we are on the same side and the House could do a lot worse…I like John Rogers, too, although we disagree on a few key issues…I do not know DeLeo but I know his record…and, lastly, I know and like many of the smart women in the House, I just think they sell themselves short in times like these. i haven’t lost hope.)