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House GOP Women Hope for More Influence
Posted at 2:03 p.m. on June 3, 2013
A little more than a year since the Republican Women’s Policy Committee officially launched, Chairwoman Renee Ellmers of North Carolina on Monday announced the committee’s new Web presence and social-media platforms.
“We are proud to introduce an engaging platform for people across the country to learn about our work in Congress and how we are bringing a women’s perspective to the important issues facing our nation,” Ellmers said in a statement of what she hoped to accomplish through a more active Facebook page, Twitter handle and YouTube repository of the 19 members’ TV spots. “I’m dedicated to growing this committee.”
Ellmers ascended to the helm of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee at the start of the 113th Congress. It was founded several months earlier, in May 2012, by then-Rep. Mary Bono Mack — the seven-term California Republican was, incidentally, defeated for re-election several months after that, in November.
According to its official mission statement, the purpose of the committee is for “influencing, advancing, leading, and communicating the Republican agenda in the House of Representatives … from a woman’s perspective.”
Republican leaders have been working to close the gender gap at the higher levels of the leadership rungs: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., was named chairwoman of the House Republican Conference at the start of this Congress, and Reps. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., were elected conference vice chairwoman and secretary, respectively.
But as far as activity from the Women’s Policy Committee, things have been fairly quiet, something Ellmers said in her statement Monday she hopes to correct in the months ahead.
It would likely be greeted with enthusiasm from Bono Mack in particular: In a recent CQ Roll Call interview, she said the House GOP needs to make a more concerted effort to bring women to the negotiating table to influence and weigh in on the issues of the day.
“Leadership needs to engage all of the women in the conference and get their opinion and input on every bill,” Bono Mack said. “There was never an effort that I was aware of — and I was chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee — to come to the women in the House and talk about a bill, how it could be improved.”