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The other part of WUFPAC’s mission is to get women into office while they’re young and encourage them to stay so they will gain seniority and lead committees in the future. “Career politicians” are not currently in vogue, but seniority retains certain advantages on the Hill. If women stay in office longer, WUFPAC leaders say, they eventually will join the leadership ranks.
A couple of Members who have been endorsed by WUFPAC in the past have already risen through the ranks. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) serves as vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, making her the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) serves as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
In the past few years, the PAC has begun making endorsements on the state and local levels to build a deeper bench of younger women who will eventually be ready to run for national office.
Wasserman Schultz understands this part of WUFPAC’s mission; after all, she first ran for a seat in her state Legislature when she was 25.
“Women usually aren’t in a position to run at that stage of our lives,” she said. “WUFPAC has made it easier.”
One such woman is Heather McTeer, a Democratic candidate for the House in Mississippi’s 2nd district.
Currently the mayor of Greenville, McTeer said she first heard of the organization when she was contemplating her run for Congress. As she stood around the PAC’s event at Acqua Al 2, she explained why she had just applied for a WUFPAC endorsement.
“Young women can do it all,” the 36-year-old said. “Walk into a woman’s house, and she’ll be making dinner, balancing the budget, putting the kids to bed. These women are problem solvers. They should be in Congress.”