INDIANAPOLIS — Speakers Monday at the annual Richard G. Lugar Series encouraged more women to seek elected posts, a trend already seen in Indiana this spring.
“Run. Run, run, run. We absolutely need women at all levels of government to step up,” U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th Dist., told a noon gathering of about 500.
“Right now, I am afraid that the Democrats have more women running than we as Republicans have, at least at the national level,” said Brooks, one of 21 Republican women in Congress.
“We don’t have enough women in the Statehouse. We don’t have enough women as mayors. We don’t have enough women leading at other levels of government,” she added.
Brooks said that women considering a run in politics should tell stories about issues they want to address, tout the expertise they bring and surround themselves with people who will be frank with them.
The message came as 20 women, including two running for office, were honored as upcoming graduates of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, a leadership development program aimed at increasing the number of Republican women in office.
“One person makes such a difference in this country,” U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd Dist., said. “I would urge every woman here to take a step, as you get out of this Lugar series. Take the step, follow your passion, and you’re not going to believe in five years where you’ll be.”
Former State Sen. Beverly Gard was awarded the Nancy A. Maloley Outstanding Public Service Award. Gard serves on a handful of state boards and is chair of the Alcohol Code Revision Commission.
This year in Indiana, nearly 90 Hoosier women have filed to run for federal or states offices in the May primary, reportedly an increase of 35 over the 2016 primary. Five of the state’s top seven elected posts are held by Republican women: Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, Auditor Tera Klutz and Treasurer Kelly Mitchell.
“A lot is being made this year about how many women are signing up to be on the ballot,” Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer told the gathering. “Women in Indiana have been leading for a long time. The Republican Party doesn’t just put them on the ballot. We elect them.”