During the 2018 mid-term election cycle, more women than ever are seeking offices ranging from city council to the United States Senate, with a record number of over 40 female Native candidates running. Before the votes are counted on November 6, let’s take a look at these historic races:
Peggy Flanagan (Ojibwe), a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, is running for the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. As Minnesota is home to 11 sovereign tribal nations, Ms. Flanagan is running on Native identified issues such as state collaboration with tribes in combating a growing opioid epidemic, and investment in Dakota and Ojibwe language immersion programs.
Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) is running in Kansas’s 3rd Congressional District to unseat Republican Kevin Yoder. Ms. Davids’ professional life has been devoted to promoting opportunity and equity, and she has worked on Indian reservations creating economic development opportunities through programming. She also served as a White House Fellow during the Obama-Trump transition, and speaks regularly at conferences on Native economic development topics. Her campaign in this key race is currently rated as a toss-up, proof of Ms. Davids’s skillful campaigning in a historically Republican stronghold.
Deb Haaland (Laguna) is best poised to be the first Native woman in U.S. Congress, running in a heavily Democratic district in New Mexico. Ms. Haaland has received substantial media attention, including an NPR profile in July. She led the passage of New Mexico’s SB 482, increasing enrolled New Mexico tribal members access to higher education institutions through in-state tuition, regardless of their residency. Haaland also worked to advance Native rights as a member of the State Democratic Party, and was endorsed by President Barack Obama earlier this year.
If candidates Flanagan, Davids, and Haaland are elected, the 2018 mid-term elections could end up propelling Native American women and the issues most important to them to the forefront of national politics. Voting this year is more important than ever, and to help these women and other important candidates in your own district get elected, make sure your voter registration is up to date!