Utah women in politics vastly outnumbered
Fewer than 1 in 5 legislators are female
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said he wasn't sure why more women don't run for the state Senate. Half the people who sign up to shadow him for a day are women, he estimates. But out of 24 Republican senators, only two are female.
"I think we need a better balance," he said. Addressing hypothetical female candidates, he added "Please run. We need you in the Legislature."
Niederhauser drew criticism last month after a fundraising event at which he jokingly asked Henderson which of a group of lawmakers she would like to date. Niederhauser apologized, calling his question inappropriate.
"If there's a silver lining in that whole thing," he said, it's that the need for more Republican female lawmakers "has been emblazoned on my mind."
After serving as a commissioner, Seelig, the House minority leader, said she hesitated for a few months before deciding to vie for a seat in the House. She credits her stints as a commissioner and a common counselor as training grounds that taught her to state her case, listen actively and adjust to the public spotlight.
She still feels nervous, she said, when she steps up to the microphone to testify for or against bills. "It's nerve-wracking," she said. But "it's part of the role and responsibility."
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