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Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature at the Statehouse in Des Moines in January.

This originally appeared in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald on June 8.

The face of Iowa politics is changing.

First, a record 99 women were on Democratic, Republican and Libertarian ballots in the June 5 primary election for state and federal offices. When the dust of primary night settled, a record 85 women emerged as winners and will run for those offices in November’s general election.

Maybe it was the #MeToo or #TimesUp movement that spurred women into action. Maybe women were motivated by President Trump — both those who support him and those who oppose him. Or maybe it was just their time.

Whatever the reason for the pendulum swing, getting more women into public office will be good for the state. And it most assuredly will happen. The increase in women on the ballot is significant. It was record-breaking two years ago when 65 women advanced out of the primaries. Now that number has jumped 31 percent.

There will be women on the ballot for several statewide offices, including the barrier-breaking governor, Kim Reynolds, as well as auditor and secretary of state. Should Deidre DeJear unseat Secretary of State Paul Pate, she will become the first African-American in Iowa elected to statewide office.

The presence of women in some of these races wasn’t subtle. They did not squeak by in winning their spots on the November ballot.

In a four-way race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. House in the 1st District, state Rep. Abby Finkenauer, of Dubuque, trounced her three opponents — one of them a woman — by attracting two-thirds of all votes cast.

Gender shouldn’t have much to do with why voters choose a candidate. But for too long — for ... ever, really — half the population has been vastly underrepresented in our government. That isn’t good for democracy.

In November, things will be different. The ballot featuring so many more females will serve as inspiration to young women interested in public service.

The face of Iowa politics is changing.


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