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Local organization hopes to get more women involved in politics

Iowa State Capitol dome. (Caroline Cummings.)

One group in Iowa is hoping to get more women inspired and involved in the political process.

50-50 in 2020 is a non-partisan, non-issue organization focusing on getting more women to consider—and run for—public office.

The goal is clear: "[to] really help recruit, retain and mentor women who decide to run for statewide office,” said Courtney Greene, who sits on the board of 50-50.

According to a report from the Center for American Women and Politics, there are only 34 women who are the Iowa House and Senate, making up just 23% of the total legislature. At the cornerstone of 50-50 in 2020 is the goal of increasing that number up to 50%. The group also hopes to get women to make up half of Iowa's congressional delegation. The only female in that group is Sen. Joni Ernst (R), which the organization touts as a goal achieved.

A female governor in Gov. Kim Reynolds (R)—who was sworn in after Terry Branstad was plucked to be the Ambassador to China— is another goal checked off 50-50's list.

The organization's founders—Maggie Tinsman, a Republican and Jean Lloyd-Jones, a Democrat—saw the discrepancy between men and women in the statehouse firsthand, both having previously served in the legislature.

"I think during their time at the statehouse, sometimes they were the only women at the table,” Greene said.

Their experience prompted action, inspiring them to create an organization to encourage women to get into the political arena, yes, but moreover, "give them the nuts and bolts that they need to be recruited, trained, mentored so they can actually get elected and be successful in their positions," Greene said.

Greene described the group she works alongside of at 50-50 as "dynamic, passionate and smart."

“There’s no organization like this in the country so in Iowa we are very lucky to have this resource for women,” Greene said.

50-50 is now accepting applications for its Blueprint For Winning Academy, a campaign training program, happening in Johnston in January. There is more information available at their website, www.50-50in2020.org


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