by Kirsten Gillibrand | February 02, 2012
2012 marks a momentous year for women in politics. This year, we have the opportunity to rise above the GOP's attempts to set women's rights back and turn 2012 into Women's Historic Year.
I'm so excited that in 2012 we have more women running for the US Senate than ever before, which means that the support of organizations such as EMILY's List will be more important than ever. This election cycle, EMILY's List will be supporting a record number of women -- and I am so proud to be among them. From Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts to Mazie Hirono in Hawaii to our record 6 women running for re-election to the Senate all around the country, I know that the women running this year will serve as a catalyst for change in Washington. As more and more women get off the sidelines, run for office and win, women will provide the strength and leadership Washington needs to get our nation back on the right path.
We all know that Washington is not working the way it should -- the way our families and the middle class need it to. That's why I created Off The Sidelines as a call to action to women to get involved in the political process and make their voices heard. Whether it's registering to vote, volunteering for a candidate who shares your values or running for office yourself, it's so important that women realize that they can make a difference and that their voices matter.
Throughout its history, EMILY's List women have made groundbreaking progress on the most critical issues such as education, the economy, health care, employment protection, national security, the environment and minimum wage. As the number of women in office grows, not only will we move one step closer to equal representation in Congress, but we'll also move toward a fairer, safer and more progressive America. Currently, women make up just 17 percent of Congress. This needs to change now and we have a terrific opportunity in 2012 to make great gains. So let's commit to do everything we can to make 2012 Women's Historic Year and bring a surge of new women into Congress. Because when more women are at the decision making table, the range of discussions is more diverse, and the outcomes are often better as a result. That means better policies for our families, for our communities and for all Americans.
As mothers, sisters and daughters who support women's rights and family values, women offer a different and much needed perspective and approach to solving problems, creating positive change, and simply getting things done. As my colleague Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) once quipped, "Kirsten, if you and I were negotiating the budget we would have gotten it done a week ago." I could not agree more. Let's make a difference and get more women off the sidelines and into public office today.