Some feel that a government that is split politically can’t get anything accomplished. Bryan Ryerse says that the nation is currently divided, and he believes more women in politics could be an answer to the division currently in the legislation process.
Ryerse, who will soon be receiving his Master of Science in Communications, is doing a presentation on “Communication and Campaign Strategies of Successful Women in Washington State Legislators.”
Ryerse will focus on the women currently in the Washington State Legislature.
Currently the state has three women in prominent offices, Sen. Patty Murry, Rep. Kathy McMorris and Gov. Christine Gregoire. Ryerse will examine how these women came into office.
Washington has a long history of women in the legislature.
Washington has historically been a leader for the most women in politics, many times beating California and Arizona in its amount of political women.
Some famous historic women in Washington state politics include Sen. Reba Hurn, who was Washington’s first female senator.
Another famous female politician is Belle Culp Reeves, who was Washington’s first female secretary of state in 1938.
These historic women were some of the first female politicians.
Ryerse chose to examine the Washington Legislature because, “Washington is a unique state with its political makeup. For a long time women have been in the legislature. Washington has been historically number one for having the most women in office.”
The presentation will look at our current legislature and why Washington has been so successful for female politicians.
“When Washington was founded it didn’t have the same stereotypical roles because things needed to be done; this carried on into politics,” Ryerse said.
According to Ryerse, Washington was such a young state, that it couldn’t afford to have the same stereotypical roles for men and women. When this spread into politics it opened political gates for many Washington women.
In the 1970s Washington was progressive at electing women. Ryerse will discuss the strategies that Washington used to get women elected at this time. “Two of the biggest things for women who’ve been elected are self-confidence and self image. Women seem to have a tougher time thinking of themselves as politicians,” Ryerse said.
One reason there are not more women in political office is because many aren’t getting involved in political office early.
According to Ryerse, women tend not to get involved in politics early because many are focused on raising their children. “Women have children and often want to be with their children. Working and being in politics doesn’t leave much time for those issues,” Ryerse said.
Ryerse thinks that more women should become involved in politics. “Women have a great voice. Women are less divisive and more collaborative. I think more women in politics could change the tone of Washington, D.C. Right now it’s we’re doing this, and you’re doing that; there would be more decisions and collaboration in what’s getting passed.”
Ryerse has researched the campaign strategies that have resulted in the election of women in state legislature.
He also hopes to present strategies to get more women into politics.
The presentation will discuss how Washington is nearly divided in political affiliations between republicans and democrats.
Ryerse, an EWU student who grew up in Black Diamond, a rural community in southeast King County; said that Washington looks to much to California for its leadership, “Washington is a great political state. Washington always looks to California as a leader; Washington is a leader and it should speak up.”
Ryerse’s presentation will be on Thursday, April 14 in Monroe room 207. The presentation will be from noon to 1 p.m.