Described as “The Year of the Republican Woman,” 2010 and the historic November elections were marked by the emergence of many bold, conservative women who led the national debate and were at the forefront of the movement to reclaim government for the American people.
This week, we highlight five of the newly-elected women of 2010, including Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Kelly Ayotte, Nan Hayworth, and Linda Upmeyer.
Nine new Republican women won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), this surpasses the previous high mark of seven newly-elected Republican women in a single election.
New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte became the only newly-elected woman to join the U.S. Senate, and three Republican women were elected as new governors in their state – Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Nikki Haley of South Carolina. Governor Jan Brewer won reelection in Arizona.
Republican women didn’t just leave their mark in the U.S. House and Senate – the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Republican women gained more than 100 seats in state legislatures, from 529 in 2010 to 653 in 2011.
Yet, even those candidates who did not achieve victory on November 2nd played a tremendous role in shaping the debate and defining 2010 as the Year of the Republican Woman – CEO’s Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in California and Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware.
Indeed the support of both the Tea Party movement and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had a tremendous influence on the emergence and success of many of these candidates, but the common denominator amongst all the newly-elected women was their commitment to American values and the American people.
These women are defined by the values for which they stand – job-creation, fiscal responsibility, excellence in education, health care reform, lower taxes, smaller government, and greater freedom.
They are role models, not only to women across the country, but to all Americans who are ready for real, transformative change. And just as they inspire us to become effective citizen leaders, these women, too, have mentors who inspired and guided them throughout their careers.
We are proud to highlight the newly-elected women who have made history in 2010 and the mentors who supported them through their journey.
South Carolina Governor-elect Nikki Haley
On November 2nd, Governor-elect Nikki Haley became the first female governor of South Carolina, the first minority governor in the state’s history, and only the second Indian-American governor in United States history.
Haley was born in South Carolina as the daughter of Indian immigrants. A graduate of Clemson University, she worked as the Accounting Supervisor in a large corporation before helping her family’s business grow into a multi-million dollar organization.
Governor-elect Haley first became a national sensation after her resounding primary victory in June of 2010, when she captured 65 percent of the vote in a run-off election. As the only female candidate running against three established Republicans in the race for Governor, Haley was helped by the support of the Tea Party movement and several endorsements, including Sarah Palin.
Her political debut began in 2004 when, as a relatively unknown candidate, she shocked the establishment by defeating the state’s longest serving legislator in a Republican primary and was elected to represent the 87th District in the South Carolina House of Representatives.
Throughout her career in South Carolina, Governor-elect Nikki Haley has fought wasteful spending, pushed for smaller, more efficient government, and led the fight for accountability and transparency. She has proven to be one of the strongest fiscal conservatives in state government, and her professional experience as an accountant and Chief Financial Officer have armed her with the knowledge to run government efficiently – and on a budget.
As Governor-elect Haley reminded us in her Election Night speech:
“This movement was never meant to be about a person, it was never meant to be about an election. This movement was to be about how we take our state and our country back.”
New Mexico Governor-elect Susana Martinez
This year, Governor-elect Susana Martinez became the first female Governor in New Mexico’s history, and the first-ever Latina Republican Governor. In 2010, New Mexico was the battleground for only the third female vs. female gubernatorial race in American history.
Replacing Democratic Governor Bill Richardson in New Mexico, Governor-elect Martinez ran on a platform to cut wasteful spending, reform education, lower taxes, and end “pay-to-play” practices and other corruption in government to reform the state of New Mexico and continue her role as a dedicated public servant in her state.
Over the years, Susana Martinez has earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor, fighting relentlessly for the safety of children. In 2008, she was named Heart Magazine’s “Woman of the Year,” for her advocacy for children’s safety, and in 2010 she was named New Mexico’s “Prosecutor of the Year.”
Dedicated to family values and private enterprise, Martinez is an ardent supporter of a balanced budget, lower government spending and Second Amendment rights.
Throughout her successful career as a prosecutor and public servant, Governor-elect Martinez points to the important example set by her mother to guide and inspire her during her journey. From The Santa Fe New Mexican:
Her sense of organization and business acumen came from her mother, Paula, who worked at jobs including bookkeeping.
Martinez said her mother taught her the virtue of patience, in part by showing her how to juggle a full-time job, a special-needs daughter, her children’s activities and working after hours as the family’s fledgling company was growing.
“Extreme patience,” is how she described what her mother had.
U.S. Senator-elect in New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte
Before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Kelly Ayotte served for five years as New Hampshire’s first female Attorney General. During her years as Attorney General, Ayotte won accolades as a prosecutor and presided over one of the safest states in the union.
Ayotte’s work as the state’s top law enforcement official earned her Manchester Union Leader’s “Citizen of the Year” award in 2008, while New Hampshire Magazine named her one of the state’s top-ten most powerful people and remarkable women.
Her husband, Joe, an Iraq war veteran, currently serves in the Air National Guard, and together they have created a successful landscape and snow removal company. Senator-elect Ayotte understands the impact of decisions made in Washington by government officials who have never been in any business – large or small.
She is committed to fiscal responsibility, laying out clear plans to curb the size of government and cut taxes.
Upon her victory on November 2nd, Senator-elect Kelly Ayotte reminded us:
“New Hampshire has sent a clear message to Washington: No more business as usual. No more spending money we don’t have on programs that don’t work. And no more back room deals. The people of New Hampshire have spoken, and their message is resounding: We’re taking our country back. With our nation at a crossroads, you have stood up to say loud and clear that in America, the people rule. This seat belongs to the people of New Hampshire, and that’s where it must remain.”
Congresswoman-elect Nan Hayworth (NY-19)
A doctor, mother, and businesswoman, Congresswoman-elect Nan Hayworth first decided to run in New York’s 19th Congressional District to renew the promise of America.
As a retired ophthalmologist and former teacher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine,
Nan Hayworth has advocated for the repeal of Obamacare and the replacement of the big-government healthcare law with real solutions including tort reform, health-savings accounts, and the opportunity to purchase insurance across state lines.
With Hayworth’s victory, it is clear that New Yorkers and Americans are eager to put our country back on track to prosperity, job-creation, and common sense. She is determined to defend and promote our Constitutional freedom by placing power back in the hands of the American people, not the government.
Congresswoman-elect Hayworth has pledged to fight for policies that will empower Americans to revive our economy, rebuild our infrastructure, repair Social Security and Medicare, protect the environment, and strengthen our national security:
“If we can return to a government that the Founders, in their wisdom, envisioned for us, we can return to a government that will allow our economy to thrive again, and our people to live in liberty.”
Linda Upmeyer—Iowa House Majority Leader
The first woman to be chosen House Majority Leader in Iowa, Linda Upmeyer, will be serving her fifth term in the Iowa House of Representatives, after first being elected in 2002 to represent House District 12.
Born in Mason City, Iowa, her father, Del Stromer, was a farmer and former Majority Leader and Speaker of the House. Her mother, Harriet, was a homemaker and longtime aide to Del.
Upmeyer grew up in Garner, Iowa on the family farm, eventually receiving her Masters Degree in Nursing from Drake University. A certified Family Nurse Practitioner, she was elected as the Republican Whip in 2008 and has served on numerous committees such as Human Resources, Natural Resources and Administrative Rules.
Representative Upmeyer shares the impact and influence of her mentor, Joyce Hanes, in her own words:
I’m incredibly honored and humbled to have been chosen by my caucus as the first woman Majority Leader in the state of Iowa. It’s a big challenge that I take seriously.
While many people have helped me along the way, I’ve found a special mentor in Joyce Hanes. In the 1980’s, Joyce was appointed as a ‘token’ woman on our local community college board. Joyce wasn’t bent out of shape being the only woman on the board, and she wasn’t upset as to why she was chosen. Instead, she was a quiet leader, who did her job, worked hard, and got things done. Joyce went on to be the chair of the board. While she was chair, Joyce found a small town, farm wife, and mother of five little ones she thought could be an asset to the board. That woman was me. Joyce always saw the potential in others, even when they didn’t see it themselves. I went on to serve on that community college board with attorneys, doctors, and other business professionals for 13 years.
As I’ve moved through different phases of my personal and professional careers I’ve found countless people who have pushed me in various ways. When I went into my nursing career, I found mentors who worked hard and didn’t complain. When I went into politics, I learned from women who did the right thing no matter what, put people first and stood by their core principles.
As I start this next chapter, I will try to emulate all of the different lessons these mentors have shown me along the way.
The 2010 midterm elections have gone down in history, not only because of the largest Republican gain since 1948, but because of the new class of women leaders who define the conservative movement and America’s first principles of freedom, small government, and faith in the American people.
They are an inspiration to all Americans.
Newt and Callista Gingrich
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• Pope John Paul II’s historic nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in June of 1979 created a revolution of conscience that transformed Poland and fundamentally reshaped the spiritual and political landscape of the 20th Century. In Nine Days that Changed the World, Newt and Callista Gingrich, along with a Polish, American, and Italian cast, explore what transpired during these nine days that moved the Polish people to renew their hearts, reclaim their courage, and free themselves from the shackles of Communism
• Newt Gingrich interviews former President of Colombia Álvaro Uribe. The Americano recently gave President Uribe the Freedom Award for his success in fighting against terrorism in Colombia. They discuss this and more in their interview for The Americano.
• Don’t forget to check out Health Reform Report [www.healthreformreport.com] for the latest updates on health reform and the implementation of Obamacare. You can also follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HRRPT.
• In her piece on Renewing American Leadership, author Leslie Carbone outlines the Moral Case Against Spreading the Wealth. You can read the piece here.
• At ReAL Action, read part 2 of The ReAL America Series: Renewing American Economic Leadership by competing with China and India.