Commemorating the Legacy of Jeannette Rankinby Representative Donna F. Edwards
Posted on 2013-03-04
EDWARDS asked and was given permission to address the House for
Ms. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of March as
Women's History Month and to commemorate the legacy of Jeannette
Rankin, the first elected woman to serve in the House of
Representatives on this day, March 4, 1917.
Jeannette Rankin furthered women's rights, ensuring universal suffrage and protecting the poor. She began her career as a community organizer, working in low-income neighborhoods in San Francisco, New York, and Washington State, and she witnessed the troubles of women and single mothers living in these communities. Jeannette Rankin became a strong, natural advocate for giving women a national voice through the right to vote.
Remarkably, Jeannette Rankin was elected to Congress when women still did not have the right to vote. The 19th Amendment was passed 3 months after she left Congress. As Rankin herself put it, ``We're half the people; we should be half the Congress.'' Today, we must continue to honor her work and legacy. With the ongoing budget crisis in mind, it is imperative that we redouble our efforts, as she would have, to come to a solution and to take the lesson of Jeannette Rankin, to fight for women and the poor who are disproportionately affected by sequestration, and to fight for them as Jeannette Rankin fought for them so hard.