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11 posts from May 2011

May 03, 2011

How Debbie Wasserman Schultz uses the "Mom" card to her advantage

Debbie00_wasser_editorial_hDebbie Wasserman Schultz, the hard-charging 44-year-old, has been a Democratic rising star since she was elected at age 26 to the Florida state House. She is poised for her biggest role yet: President Barack Obama’s choice to chair the Democratic National Committee.

From today's Miami Herald:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was running late, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

In a room filled with congressional colleagues, the Florida Democrat called out Republican Gov. Rick Scott for “gutting” a crime unit that targets online predators, a move she called “hard to grasp and irresponsible.”

She held her ground even as Scott told her she was misinformed, asking him to have his staff provide her with details “to show me where I’m incorrect.”

It was vintage Wasserman Schultz: aggressive, determined and direct.

Wow! Those adjectives to describe a woman in business and politics. Clearly, that goes to her style. But here's where the mom card factors in:

Florida is a hugely important state, women are hugely important to our success,” she told the Miami Herald. “I’m a young mom, a good fundraiser and I can put a sentence together.”

Supporters suggest Wasserman Schultz’s profile as a young mom juggling Girl Scouts and a demanding job will strike a chord with working mothers. Her Jewish roots and deep ties to the community could help Obama with that key Democratic constituency. And then there’s her familiarity with elections in Florida – the country’s biggest swing state.

Even a decade ago, being a working mom juggling responsibilities wasn't seen as a big advantage in politics. Today it is. Politicians see a huge benefit in appealing to working mothers, an increasingly larger percentage of voters. What I respect about Debbie is that she always has championed causes for children. It's exactly what working mothers want from our politicians.

On the same front page as the profile of Debbie, there's a photo of Obama and top officials. Seated at the table of men is Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most well known working political mom. It's a pretty powerful billboard for progress.



Judging from today's paper, I believe being a working mom no longer is strike against you in politics. What are your thoughts? Have Debbie and Hillary solidified a place for working mothers in D.C.?