It has never been a more important time for Americans to pay attention to politics and become politically active within their community. With the ongoing national conversation regarding women’s health, economic issues, and more changes that will affect every American, learning about your representatives’ platforms and burgeoning careers will help you stay informed and prepared for each election.
There is an ongoing push to increase diversity in American politics, which is why we have compiled a list of five female politicians you should track as local and midterm elections loom on the horizon.
Kamala Harris, California State Senate
Kamala Harris is a newly-elected junior State Senator in California, who has already begun making waves with her Democratic platform and comments on the President’s actions while in office. A graduate of Howard University and UC Hastings, Harris served in the California state government as California’s Attorney General for eight years prior to her election as a State Senator.
As Attorney General, Harris worked to fight Housing Discrimination, California’s prison conditions, and sentencing reform. Noticing the need for increased support for children without a stable home life, she took matters into her own hands in 2015, creating the Bureau of Children’s Justice, which would focus on improving the foster care system, the juvenile justice system, school truancy, and childhood trauma.
Senator Harris has continued to be vocal about this nation’s tendency towards systemic discrimination, calling out the Department of Justice for discriminatory tactics. Harris’s career seems to be on an ever-climbing upswing, and it will be interesting to see where she goes next with the nation looking on.
Barbara Sharief, Broward County Commissioner
Barbara Sharief highlights why it is so important to pay attention to local politics—they are, after all, the most direct ways to remain involved in your community. Prior to serving as a Broward County Commissioner, Sharief was elected to the Miramar City Commission and quickly established her concern for the community by donating her annual salary to local charities.
She has proven herself so capable of serving the community, that she was appointed Mayor of Broward County twice, most recently in 2016. Sharief also has become a leading example of what a county commissioner can and should be when she created the Commissioner on a Mission, a program that assists the elderly, reaches out to family’s facing foreclosure, and fights to decrease unemployment rates throughout Broward County.
As Mayor, she worked tirelessly through Hurricane Irma to keep the community safe and updated on the storm’s status and impact.
Barbara Sharief is a member of various local organizations that seek to help improve the lives of minority women in Broward County, and proves day after day that everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed in America, and action on a local level is the best place to start.
Annette Taddeo, Florida State Senate
Another Floridian on the move is Miami’s Annette Taddeo, who was elected to represent Florida in 2017. A native of Colombia, Taddeo is the first Hispanic Democratic woman elected to the chamber.
Taddeo herself has noted that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support of public education, and that is why her platform will focus heavily on improving conditions in Florida’s public schools and increasing funding for public education.
As a Floridian, she is well-aware of the changing weather conditions and how the government provides support for its citizens in the wake of major storms. She feels this is the responsibility of all levels of government, not just the Senate, and will be vocal about environmental issues while she works hard in Tallahassee.
Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations
The former Governor of South Carolina was appointed to President Trump’s cabinet, and she has become a vocal representative of the current Executive Branch.
While serving the state of South Carolina, Haley gained a vocal and devoted base of supporters, and it is with this support that many political pundits argue that she may run for President in 2020 if President Trump is for some reason unable or unwilling to run.
This past December, New York Magazine wrote a feature piece on Haley’s proven ability to maneuver the field of politics by speaking on the President’s various comments regarding the state of the nation as well as potential international threats; she has spun his words to appease the press while also impressing his supporters.
Ambassador Haley has become a national name in 2017, and she is continually creating her space on the political stage—a stage that is going to remain in the spotlight through the 2020 election.
Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Miami-Dade School Board Member
Miami-Dade County is known for having weekly School Board meetings that go well into the early hours of the morning. In this atmosphere of dedication, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall has stood out as a member who is dedicated to fighting discrimination and improving the lives of children throughout Miami-Dade County.
As a child, Bendross-Mindingall lived in and attended publicly segregated housing projects and schools. In an effort to ensure that children never faced such discrimination ever again, she became the first chairperson of the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs, and served as the State Representative for District 109 from 2000-2008.
Dr. Bendross-Mindingall is a politician to watch in 2018 because she has demonstrated throughout her career what it means to be committed to improving every life in her community. She is a local inspiration and proof that it doesn’t matter where you begin, you can always do something to help others.