Katie Nash: The Subjection of Maryland Women

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By: Katie Nash 

Our upcoming Primary Election is less than a week away and many of us have made our predictions who will come out as our likely nominees to lead the Maryland (yes, I understand I am angering my future Republican candidate but again I did say “likely”). In the Old Line State, lines were drawn early and it struck me that two strong candidates were not entirely embraced by the Party regulars that make up the Maryland Democratic Party. In fact, going one step further, I’d argue they were summarily rejected by the establishment Dems prematurely – as if suggesting the fix was in from the beginning.

Delegate Heather Mizeur (District 20) and Delegate Aisha Braveboy (District 25), running for Governor and Attorney General, respectively, are both running credible, professional campaigns.  Both candidates offer impressive accomplishments, clearly communicated platforms that seemingly would appeal to their base Democratic Primary voters, and have pulled together campaigns for statewide office. As women, both candidates represent a core voting demographic in any election, but particularly the Maryland Democratic Primary.

Yet, both candidates are regarded as being in the #3 slot and have been from the beginning of their races. Here’s the latest polling presented by the Washington Post. Arguably Gansler’s sudden shift to attack Mizeur on her lack of pedigree speaks to his fear he may be third. This irritates me and I’ll tell you why.

I’m a moderate Republican. Yes, we still exist.

I’m also a woman who has heard years of claims that the Democratic Party should be the preferred political party for me. Given the famed “War on Women” and other positions (mostly held specifically by the conservative wing of the Republican Party) center-leaning women like myself should be running to the Democratic Party, right?

Yet, if we follow this train of thought for a moment, we should see a blend of women within the ranks of our overwhelmingly Democratic state government. Maryland gets credit – according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 30.3% of our legislators are women. I love it that we express thanks for a one-third status, but I digress. Thank God for Nancy Kopp, the only woman serving as a Constitutional Officer – rep-ing women across the state since 2002.

It is noteworthy to point out to the dear reader that the Democratic Party has embraced “Emerge Women” – an impressive website outlines the purposes and opportunities of this organization that is part of a larger chapter network, Emerge America. Not to dismiss this cool program (I’m jealous Republicans haven’t made a similar investment), but essentially Maryland ‘opted in’ to the innovative work of Andrea Dew Steele who began Emerge California. Again, green with envy – visit the Emerge website and you’ll get my pun.  

So naturally I don’t believe that you should simply hand an office to someone given a socio-economic status. None of us believe that. I guess I just want to call you Dems out there on your own rhetoric. Look, I got nothing, my Party right now embarrasses the hell out of me in a lot of ways. Read this one just for fun – a well-known face of Maryland conservatism (and Delegate from Western Maryland) actually proposed tattooing AIDS patients in 2005. But I can’t say that you guys are doing such a good job of offering an alternative. Watching Maryland Democrats anoint a leader and pass up strong female candidates merely because they weren’t part of your original power structure is obnoxious. You go through the trouble of opting in to Emerge America (a little sarcasm there) but from an outsider’s perspective, you aren’t willing to build the bench if the female candidate doesn’t kiss every ring presented. I’ve seen some of those rings and honestly, I’d bring along a Clorox wipe.

But who am I and what do I know? Would I really ever vote for Heather Mizeur if she made it past her primary? She doesn’t represent my views on most things, this is true. So maybe this makes me a hypocrite – I’ve been called much worse, visit Maryland’s ultra-conservative blogs for some of my favorites. But I wouldn’t mind the choice, that’s for sure. Freedom of thought and all that red, white, and blue rhetoric we Republicans love so much.

Seriously though, I have to know - doesn’t it bug you that you don’t even have a real choice? Your presumptive candidate was packaged and chosen for you. Yay democracy. Yet I’m writing this because I think there are folks who would agree with me, who, like the Stealers Wheel song, are to the left of me. Maybe they feel they can’t speak out because of the existing Democratic power structure. Well, Center Maryland is “news straight down the middle” so let’s hope there’s enough middle folks out there to give these candidates – Del. Mizeur - http://www.heathermizeur.com/ -  and Del. Braveboy - http://www.aishabraveboy.com -  at least some decent consideration. Happy voting!    

Katie Nash lives in the City of Frederick with her husband, Corey Stottlemyer, their two young children, and her 87-year-old grandfather. She is a passionate and outspoken advocate for a range of issues. From innovation to reduce levels poverty and achieve economic equality to urban farming with backyard chickens to increased citizen participation in local government, Katie often surprises folks with her voter registration card proving that she indeed, a Republican.  Her email is .

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