Cedar Rapids Mayor Lee R. Clancey
Chairs First Women Mayors’ Meeting|
By Nicole Maharaj
Cedar Rapids Mayor Lee R. Clancey convened her first meeting as the new Chair of the Women Mayors’ Caucus, on Thursday, January 27 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. The abbreviated meeting was a result of the President’s State of Union address, previewed by the mayors during the Arts Gala entertainment evening event. Clancey cited some top issues women mayors’ want to address as a result of the Fall ‘99 USCM Women Mayors’ Survey. A few of these topics include: Women in Positions of Leadership, Women Mentoring (including recruitment and training of women mayors’), Downtown Revitalization Strategies, Education, and Youth Issues. Clancey expressed the importance of the Women Mayors’ Caucus, and referenced past issues that have emanated out of the Women Mayors’ Meetings and have since been addressed by the larger Conference body as a whole, including Breast Cancer Awareness and Youth Violence Prevention Strategies. Clancey also announced a new U.S. Mayor column dedicated to women mayors’ issues and articles, entitled “Women Mayors’ of America’s Cities,” which will debut in March. Clancey’s current leadership positions include serving as Chair of the Women Mayors’ Caucus, Trustees Representative for the Investing in Working Families Task Force, Co-Chair of the Mayors and Farmers/Ranchers Task Force, and an Executive Committee Member.
The purpose of the Women Mayors’ Caucus, which meets bi-annually (during the Winter and Annual Meetings), is both to encourage and develop involvement and leadership potential for women mayors in the Conference. The Caucus also provides an excellent informal opportunity for networking and a forum for an exchange of ideas. Figures show that about ten percent of the total number of women mayors nationally are USCM women member-mayors. Moreover, nearly fifteen percent of these women member-mayors hold various positions of leadership today within the Conference of Mayors.
Women Mayors’ Speaker
Deborah L. Walsh, Associate Director for the Center for the American Women and Politics (CAWP), and Director of the Program for Women Public Officials at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey addressed the Women Mayors’ Caucus as the primary speaker. The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), founded in 1971, is the first organization and educational institution to compile information about women in government and politics, including studying and monitoring the status and prospects of these women. Its’ mission is to promote greater understanding and knowledge about women’s changing relationships in politics and government and to enhance women’s influence and leadership in public life. CAWP has taken on multiple roles of catalysts and resource, provider of data and analysis, interpreter and guide. CAWP’s major program areas include: 1) Information Services which provides up-to-minute information and analysis on the developing women’s political movement; 2) Program for Women Public Officials which convenes the quadrennial national Forum for Women State Legislatures and other national conferences and programs for women officeholders; 3) Educational Programs offers education programs designed to prepare young women for public leadership at the regional, state and national level; and 4) Research Program addresses emerging issues and questions about the status and impact of political women.
Facts on Women in Elective Office
2000 CAWP data shows women hold 65, or 12.1%, of the 535 seats in the 106th U.S. Congress, 9, or 9% of the 100 seats in the Senate, and 56, or 12.9%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Two women serve as Delegates to the House from the Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C., and the number of women in statewide executive posts is 91, an all-time high. The proportion of women in state legislatures is 22.5 percent, and three women serve as state Governors, and 19 serve as Lieutenant Governors.
In addition, there are about 450 women mayors’ nationally, representative of cities of various populations, including 192 from U.S. cities with populations over 30,000, and 45 from cities with populations over 100,000.