Oregon Goes 24 Years Without a Woman as Governor or U.S. Senator

Oregon Goes 24 Years Without a Woman as Governor or U.S. Senator

Monica Wehby’s 17-point loss to Jeff Merkley in the 2014 contest for Oregon’s U.S. Senate seat means that it is now 24 years since a woman has been elected either as the state’s Governor or as a Senator.

Currently in Oregon there are a number of women that could be potentially strong candidates for Governor or U.S. Senator. An era of high-profile women leadership may come sooner than later.

“Timing is everything. What you need is the right place and the right time—and the right woman,” explained former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts to GoLocalPDX. “Sometimes you have the right woman, but lack the opportunity. The time might be right, but lack a woman candidate.”

An example of how poor timing limits a woman’s ability to achieve political leadership positions in Oregon would be the number of highly qualified women that have served in the state senate over the past decade, but none have served as senate president—a position filled by previous Governors. Peter Courtney has held this position since 2003, heading into an unprecedented sixth session as senate president.

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