After experiencing what felt like the longest Presidential campaign in history, and thankfully, the end of political ads, there is no rest in Washington.
As President Obama noted in his first press conference after the election, the beauty of democracy is the transition of power from the President to the President-elect. This transition includes the military, the Foreign Service, and the full bureaucracy of the federal government.
Washington, DC, is a very pragmatic place – we rally to support the new Administration and new Members of Congress. In our view, if you won an election, we move on. That means a fresh group of people to educate and get to know.
Imagine pretty much everyone you worked with in the previous Administration being replaced with someone else. With only a month to go until the inauguration, we are preparing for President Elect Trump, new Senators, and new Members of Congress. While election day may not have led to the outcomes many pollsters and insiders had predicted, women are leading the way.
The number of women of color in the U.S. Senate quadrupled on election night. Until now, it was only Senator Mazie Hirono, a Japanese American representing Hawaii. In January she will be joined by Tammy Duckworth, an Asian American, from Illinois, Kamala Harris a Black and Indian American from California, and Catherine Cortez Masto, a Latina from Nevada.
While the Senate is losing powerful and high ranking women like Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Barbara Boxer of California in the new year, the total number of women in the Senate ticks up slightly to 21.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, Pramila Jaypal from Washington State will be the first Indian American, and Stephanie Murphy from Florida, will be the first Vietnamese American to serve in Congress. New Hampshire will be represented by an all-female Congressional delegation. Women are certainly gaining ground.
As the makeup of country changes, the makeup of our elected officials is slowly catching up. And there is certainly a lot to celebrate in a number of firsts from women elected around the country.
As a nonpartisan organization working to assist women entrepreneurs by participating in national policy conversations, WIPP looks forward to working with the new Trump Administration and Congress in January. And, there is certainly a lot of work to do. When a new Congress starts, all of the bills introduced in the last Congress are no longer valid. Any bill that did not make it into law in the last Congress has to be introduced again.
As with any new Administration and Congress, our Washington DC team’s first initiative is to educate those who will lead the country for the next four years. The platform we developed during this election cycle continues to be relevant and is laid out in WIPP’s statement, which is reprinted below.
Women business owners are one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, and they need policies that will help them succeed, such as more access to capital, increased federal contracting opportunities and relief from high healthcare costs.
Women business owners face inequality on many fronts. Only 4 percent of all commercial loan dollars go to women. They only receive 5 percent of all government contracts, and are shut out of some of the government’s most lucrative ones. And only 3 percent of all venture capital goes to companies run by women.