One of the many programs at the League's November 2003 conference in Atlantic City was titled "Why Aren't There More Women in New Jersey Politics?"
Nothing has happened since then to change the appropriateness of asking that question again in 2004. But, it is a loaded question. The use of the word "more" implies that there are not enough women in politics and that there might be a right or adequate number. Each person could probably come up with a different assessment.
For the moderator of the November League program, Phyllis Marchand, the Mayor of Princeton Township and the panelists, State Senator Shirley Turner, Kim Ricketts, former member of the Highland Park Council and former Assemblywoman Ginny Weber, the answer was clear.
Yes, women elected officials are critically important participants in New Jersey's political life and there should be more. The same response came from the large and enthusiastic crowd that made up the audience. The response from outside the room at Convention Hall, while not heard and documented, is probably not as firm or committed to change and clearly plays a big role in answering the "more" question.
By Ingrid W. Reed