Will women run - and vote - after America's harassment headache?
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
Of all the revelations, we'll begin with what could be the bright spot, brought to you by two high school juniors I met today in Henderson.
“It's giving courage to younger girls that if they have ever been harassed that they definitely see that it's not acceptable and this is definitely not okay,” says Emily McElhoes, walking into the Paseo Verde Library with her friend Erin.
Our nation's collective conscious-raising could have consequences.
More women are signing up as candidates.
“The last cycle, there were about 950 women who went to Emily's List for support. Already this cycle, there have been 19,000 women,” says Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada.
Emily's List is the progressive organization that funds women who are Democratic candidates. Republicans don't have a counterpart, but a former Republican state senator-turned Independent says we need more women in office.
“I think that we bring a completely different perspective, heart and soul and view of our community and state, I think that's much needed,” says State Senator Patricia Farley, I-Clark County, who’s leaving the Legislature after her current term expires.
This past session, women made up almost 40 percent of the lawmakers in Carson City.
That's great, compared to Congress, where women account for not quite 20 percent of those in office, in a country where more than half are female.
If anything, Congresswoman Titus says the reports of harassment will change the discussion.
“Well, it's going to change the agenda, certainly. You'll see more legislation that's against sexual harassment - put some teeth into those policies,” Titus told me.
Which can't come fast enough, says State Senator Farley. She says Carson City needs a culture change, and this, from a woman who works in the male-dominated construction industry, and who thought she’d seen it all.
“It was just shocking to me the things that are said to women. The sexism up there. The harassment,” Farley says, referring to her time at the state capitol.
Which may change, beginning at the ballot box, which would be a good thing, according to high schooler Erin Robinson.
“I really think that a lot more women are going to be involved in politics now,” Robinson says. “I think now that they have the courage to step up in front of the media, they’re going to come out in other ways, too.”