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DFL: “2016 Is Going To Be The Year Of The Woman”.

DFL WOMANWomen in Minnesota have reason to be excited for the future: They’re going to be involved in planning it.

At least, those are the hopes of many DFL leaders. The party’s goal is to recruit female candidates for Congress and seats in the Legislature in 2016.

Party Chair Ken Martin was especially hopeful for the cause, saying, “We think that 2016 is going to be the year of the woman.”

Following Hillary Clinton’s announcement to run for president, advocates for more women in politics say it’s now a bit easier to recruit women. More women are willing to run for office because Clinton is expected to be at the top of the ticket, according to Lauren Beecham, the executive director of WomenWinning, an organization that helps elect female candidates who support women’s rights to make their own health decisions.

Getting women elected is just the start of the DFL’s plan to get women more involved in the state’s democratic process: The Legislature is also working to push bills that guarantee employees receive paid sick time. That initiative follows last year’s minimum wage increase, which disproportionately impacts women, and workplace protections for women.

One example of women getting involved is Laurie McKendry of Eden Prairie, who plans to run for the State Senate next year. She lost to Senate Majority Leader David Hann in 2012, but she thinks having a woman on the presidential ballot in 2016 will help her campaign:

I think Hillary running for president will be very positive for all women candidates, frankly. There’s a lot of power seeing someone who looks like you in the highest office in the United State of America.

Clinton’s announcement arrived in the wake of a national campaign to place a woman on the U.S. $20 bill and Time Magazine putting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the cover of its “100 Most Influential Icons” issue.

While there’s more work to be done to equalize professional fields between men and women, the progress that’s being made locally and nationally is something for everyone to be excited about.

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