Running in Heels
Attention, political junkies: 2012 is a record year for female candidates. Meet the women to watch (and vote for) this campaign season.
By Roberta Bernstein, Ashley Ross, and Lauren N. Williams
KYRSTEN SINEMA, 36 (Pictured)
U.S. CONGRESS, 9TH DISTRICT*
PERSONAL STORY: As a social worker, went to talk to state legislators about issues facing poor families. "Many didn't care, so I decided to run myself," she says. Served in state legislature for seven years. Also a criminal defense lawyer. Single, openly bisexual.
TOP ISSUES: Jobs, fixing "hyper-partisanship" in Washington.
CRAZY CAMPAIGN MOMENT: Being chased down the street by an ostrich that escaped from an urban farm. "It was scary! I ducked into the bushes until it lost me."
IN HER BAG: "Always some campaign materials, along with sunglasses and a water bottletwo must-haves in Arizona."
CHERI BUSTOS, 50
U.S. Congress, 17th District
PERSONAL STORY: Her only brother, Danny, died a little more than a year ago from cancer at age 52. His insurance company had refused to pay for treatment he needed to stay alive. That experience motivated Bustos to run for office. Married, three children, two grandchildren.
RÉSUMÉ HIGHLIGHTS: Journalist for 17 years; then moved on to work for a decade at a nonprofit health system. (Her first job: shoveling horse manure at age 10.)
TOP ISSUES: Job creation for the middle class, making sure Medicare and Social Security are sound, balancing the budget (but not on the
backs of working families).
SOUND BITE: I dont know how anybody who supported a Tea Party candidate in the past could not have buyers remorse now.
IN HER BAG: A Tide To Go stain stickIm always spilling my coffee; roller ball perfumea birthday present from a great friend; a tiny notebook where I write down my favorite quotes I hear while campaigningIm still a reporter at heart.
TARRYL CLARK, 51
U.S. Congress, 8th District
PERSONAL STORY: Her grandmother and role model Gonny, a schoolgirl when women won the right to vote, told Clark as a child that voting is a responsibility and inspired her to become a volunteer in her community, and to eventually become so involved in civic life that she decided to run for office. Married, two children.
RÉSUMÉ HIGHLIGHTS: Lawyer, former state senator, and executive director of Minnesotas Community Action Partnership. National cochair of the Jobs21! Campaign for the BlueGreen Alliance.
TOP ISSUES: Strengthening families and communities. Ending the Tea Party Republicans extreme war on women.
CRAZIEST THING SAID TO HER ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL: During a meeting with progressive allies, someone asked, What are you going to do about being a woman? I looked at him right in the eye and said, Im going to win.
IN HER BAG: Generally almonds, dark chocolate, and iced-tea bags for our long drivesour district goes from the northern Twin Cities suburbs to Canada!
MAZIE HIRONO, 64
PERSONAL STORY: Hironos mother fled her abusive husband in Japan and settled with Mazie and her brothers in the United States. Married.
RÉSUMÉ HIGHLIGHTS: Lawyer. Served as Hawaiis deputy attorney general and lieutenant governor. Represents Hawaiis 2nd district in the U.S. Congress. (She is the first immigrant woman of Asian ancestry to be sworn into congressional office.)
TOP ISSUES: Economy, job creation.
POLITICAL MOTTO: Never give up, always keep fighting.her friend Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink.
CRAZY CAMPAIGN STORY: An older man came up to me in the grocery store cautiously yet excitedlyhe asked me, Did anyone ever tell you that you look just like Mazie Hirono? I think I was just as surprised that he noticed me as he was when I said, As a matter of fact, Im her!
IN HER BAG: I dont go anywhere without my black Kate Spade handbag. Its appropriate for all occasionsfrom congressional hearings to dinner with my husband in Hawaiiand has a fun polka-dot inside lining. Im an avid reader, so Im always carrying briefing materials and my iPhone and iPad. My purse weighs a lot.
SHELLEY BERKLEY, 61
PERSONAL STORY: The first in her family to attend college, Berkley had her eyes set on a political career early on. Along with becoming the first female president of the student body at the University of Nevada, she was also the first female member of Congress elected from her district. Married, two children, two more
RÉSUMÉ HIGHLIGHTS: Right after law school, Berkley served in the Nevada State Assembly. Shes been a congresswoman since 1999.
TOP ISSUES: Equal pay for women, job creation for the middle class.
CAMPAIGN CONTROVERSY: Berkley is currently under a House ethics investigation concerning whether she used her position to benefit the business interests of her physician husband, by working to keep open a kidney transplant center where he had a contract.
POLITICAL MOTTO: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King Jr.
IN HER BAG: In the summer, my favorite purse is a white one that my mother used to wear when I was growing up. It comes with me on the campaign trail. I carry my BlackBerry along with pictures of my kids, mints, my wallet, tissues, lipstick, and a comb.