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Does Wisconsin need a woman governor?

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From the pages of In Business magazine.

Welcome to "Political Posturing," featuring opposing views on current issues important to Wisconsin's business community. In this column, Wisconsin Business Alliance Board President Brad Werntz and conservative columnist David Blaska offer their opinions from the left and the right, respectively.

You bet, and 2018 would be a good time to start.

By Brad Werntz

Yes, of course we need a woman governor. Bring her on anytime, I say, and the sooner the better.

But why stop with the governor’s office? While Wisconsin is one of the 23 states that has never elected a woman governor, we’ve only had three women serve as lieutenant governor, one female U.S. senator, and only two women represent us in Congress. Only 25% of our state Legislature is held by women, and women hold just 22% of the city council seats, 18% of the county board seats, and 38% of the school board seats. In Wisconsin, 74% of town boards and 24% of village boards have no women serving on them, at all.

Wisconsin is near the bottom of the list of states where women have been elected, and that’s in a country that’s 95th in the world in having women elected to government. Mexico, Pakistan, China, and 92 other countries have better representation of women in their legislatures than the U.S. does. All of this seems strange considering that the state — and the nation — is just shy of 51% female. It’s clear that we need more women in office in Wisconsin and in our country, too.

But why should we even care? For one thing, gender parity is important. It’s hard to believe that people who think that we should have separate bathrooms for men and women don’t agree that it’s important to have both men’s and women’s perspectives on the issues that are challenging our state — and country — today.

The refrain from the William Ross Wallace poem goes, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” Wallace wrote the poem in recognition that women are a major force for change in the world. Women take different perspectives on issues such as education, health care, the environment, transportation, and jobs. New perspectives give way to new thoughts about finding new solutions to pressing world problems.

Lord knows we need some new solutions. Despite what Gov. Scott Walker keeps saying, his policies are not working. Let’s let a better hand rock the cradle here in Wisconsin, starting in 2018.

Brad Werntz is a small business owner and the founder and past board president of the Wisconsin Business Alliance, wisconsinbusinessalliance.com.

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