Women in Office | VideoRetha Colclasure | 11/7/2012
But women`s successes in this election didn`t stop there. Yesterday`s vote was an encouraging one for those looking to increase the number of women in office.
State treasurer Kelly Schmidt knows what it`s like to be one of a handful of women serving in statewide office. In fact, she knows what it`s like to be the only one.
"We think different, problem solve differently, respond to things differently. We`re approached differently. It`s always nice to have someone you can visit with and talk to and have those one on one conversations of, you know how it is. I haven`t had that privilege," she said.
Since Schmidt was first elected in 2004, she`s served with just one other female in a statewide position, former public service commissioner Susan Wefald. Now, she`s looking forward to working with the first female Superintendent of Public Instruction since 1932 and with the first female member of Congress elected from North Dakota ever.
"We bring a different skill set," she said.
"We are half the population so it`s nice to have equal representation. It means a lot that our voices are heard," said Renee Stromme with North Dakota Women`s Network.
The North Dakota Women`s Network is pleased with the results of yesterday`s election, but says while the number of women elected is on the rise, it`s really just stopping a downward trend.
"We are coming back from a backward slide. We are really where we were for years upon years," Stromme said.
The percentage of women elected to the state legislature is also back up, to 16.3. That`s still down from the all-time high of 17.7, a mark reached several times, but most recently in 2007.
There has been one woman representing North Dakota in Congress before. That was Jocelyn Birch Burdick, who was appointed in 1992 to fill her husband`s term after he died. She did not run for election.
Another historical note, North Dakota was actually the first state in the nation to elect a woman to a statewide office. That was Laura Eisenhuth, elected as Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1893.