Women Leaders to California Governor Newsom:

Representation Matters in Senate Seat Selection

The leadership of more than a dozen national women’s organizations led by Higher Heights for America – including EMILY’s ListShe The People, and Supermajority – have issued the following joint statement on the upcoming California Senate seat vacancy:

“A commitment to building a democracy that lives up to its truest ideals requires that we continue to diversify and improve America’s leadership to reflect the country. In its 231-year history, only 57 women and only five women of color have ever served in the United States Senate. In 1992, Carol Moseley Braun was the first woman of color and Black woman to be elected to the Senate. It took another 20 years to elect the second woman of color to the Senate, Mazie Hirono in 2012, and 24 years to elect the second Black woman, Kamala Harris.

“Women make up 51 percent of America, yet of the 100 Senators currently serving in Congress, only 25 are women and four are women of color — Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

“There has been deep investment and long-term strategy to build a pipeline of women to run, win and lead for elected office and we have seen incremental gains. In 2018 and 2020, we made giant steps towards women’s political representation with a record number of women running and winning. As we celebrate the historic election of Kamala Harris as the first woman, woman of color and Black person to be elected as Vice President, we are also standing at a critical milestone. With one appointment, we can either continue toward a more representative Senate or suffer a major setback that could take almost a decade to regain.

“With the upcoming departure of Vice President-elect Harris from the chamber, we must keep moving forward on women’s representation. California Governor Gavin Newsom has a critical opportunity to stand firm on his progressive ideals, be on the right side of history, and ensure that the work the Vice President-elect has done for California and for the country continues.

California has been represented by a woman in the Senate since 1992. Since the following year, both Senators from the Golden State have been women. We cannot undo nearly 30 years of progress all at once. For the future of California, our country, and women everywhere, there is no better choice for Governor Newsom than to appoint a woman to fill California’s Senate seat. There are several remarkable women from the state who have what it takes to get to work right away and who would serve as powerful advocates for the people of California and marginalized constituencies nationwide.”

About Higher Heights for America:

Higher Heights is the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies. For additional information, visit:

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