“The Next Nancy” Takes on a New Leadership Role

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been announced as the new chair of the Democratic National Committee. Sometimes referred to as “the next Nancy,” Wasserman Schultz is highly regarded as a hard-working and dedicated legislator who does what is right for women and children. In her new position as DNC chair, she’ll be able to fight for women’s rights and help lead the DNC in supporting candidates who can take a stand against the Republican war on women.

Wasserman Schultz, who, if elected, will be the first woman DNC chair chosen by party members (rather than appointed), in its more than 150-year history, became the youngest female legislator in Florida history when she was elected to the state House of Representatives at age 26. She was voted into the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2004. Wasserman Schultz has always been a pro-choice and pro-gay rights politician—she currently serves as vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. She’s a longtime NOW member, an EMILY’s List alum and an active member of Planned Parenthood.

As Congresswoman and as a breast cancer survivor (she underwent seven surgeries while serving in the House in 2008), Wasserman Schultz introduced the EARLY Act, which directed the CDC to develop a national campaign to educate young women about breast cancer (the bill was later passed in the health care reform act). She currently serves as the Democratic vice chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.

As head of the DNC, Wasserman Schultz’s role will be to manage the political activity of her party. And since a woman’s in charge, that could mean the party might be inclined to support more female candidates. That could lead to more female politicians in office—and they have proven to be more effective than men in “pulling pork and shaping policy.”

Additionally, the DNC chair is a regular presence in the news, especially on TV. Wasserman Schultz has the kind of voice we want to hear more of in the public forum. Just look at what she said about HR 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which initially would have redefined rape to mean “forcible rape”:

To suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself. Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable …

And watch her on the House floor, speaking passionately against HR 3 and other anti-women bills:

As DNC chair, Wasserman Schultz will likely be getting many more invitations to appear on the TV screen, and so, fortunately for us, a loud feminist voice will have quite a platform for defending women’s rights.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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