Every March, we celebrate Women’s History Month. It’s a month to reflect on and celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions of women to our nation. As the first Republican woman to represent Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District, I feel so blessed to serve alongside 105 other women, the most women to ever serve in the U.S. Congress. I am also fortunate to live in and represent the state of Arizona, which has been leading the way for women for 107 years.
Arizona gave women the right to vote in 1912, the same year it officially became the 48th state, which is eight years before the United States gave voting rights to women. Our state has had more female governors than any other state in the nation, and the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, was an Arizonan. We are a leader in electing women, and we are home of the “Fab Five,” when the top five statewide elected offices were all held by women. These are just a few of the ways that Arizona has forged the path for women leaders.
In Congress, I was elected to serve as the Republican chairwoman of the Bipartisan Congressional Women’s Caucus. I lead the caucus with Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat representative from Michigan. What makes the Women’s Caucus unique is that we truly are a bipartisan group. Each woman in Congress is a member of the caucus, so we have a large, bipartisan group ready to tackle the issues facing women, children and families here in the United States.
The Bipartisan Women’s Caucus will work on some big issues this Congress. One of those will be combating domestic violence. This issue is personal to me, as I am a survivor of domestic violence. I want to help other victims and show them that a new life is possible.
Other issues we will address include the high rate of maternal mortality in the United States. We will also look for ways to expand women’s financial security, including improving access to capital for women-owned small businesses, economic self-sufficiency, and retirement security. We will continue to focus on combating sex and human trafficking and violence against women and girls, including on our campuses and in the military. Care giving, elder care and health issues specific to older women, as well as opioid misuse and mental health, will also be some of our priorities. If there are issues you would like to see the Women’s Caucus focus on this year, please visit my website at lesko.house.gov.
So this month, let us remember the achievements of women from the past and present, and be hopeful for what women will achieve in the future. We are lucky to live in a country where, as women, we can do anything we set our minds to.
Rep. Debbie Lesko represents Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District in Congress. She serves as co-chairwoman of the Bipartisan Women’s Caucus.