The VP List: What Happens After Hillary Clinton Makes Her Choice
The next, big political question is: Who will Hillary Clinton choose to be her running mate? The New York Times has a list. The Washington Post has a list. The Boston Globe has a list. Inspired by these lists, I’ve created one of my own.
Currently, only 20 women serve in the U.S. Senate. In fact, there has never been more than 20 women serving in the Senate at one time. If the VP pick is a sitting senator there would be an open seat that could be filled by a woman.
Having more women at decision making tables enriches the debate. That’s a good thing to keep in mind whether a replacement is selected by the voters or appointed by a governor. Of course, some of these potential picks come from states with Republican governors. But, in my perfect world, Republicans would appoint Democrats to open seats. Maybe a long shot, but it’s still fun to dream!
There are plenty of qualified women who could step up to the plate or, more accurately, into the Senate chamber. So here’s my list:
Potential VP Pick: Senator Sherrod Brown (OH)
Potential Replacement: State Representative Connie Pillich
Connie Pillich served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. After her military service, she opened her own law firm and was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2009. After three terms, Pillich was nearly elected State Treasurer, receiving over one million votes and endorsements from 20 Ohio newspapers.
Potential VP Pick: Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN)
Potential Replacement: Lt. Governor Tina Smith
Named by Roll Call as one of the 25 most influential women in state politics, Tina Smith has a long history of public service. Smith served as Chief of Staff to both Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Governor Mark Dayton. Prior to those roles, she started a small business and was a vice president for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Potential VP Pick: Senator Cory Booker (NJ)
Potential Replacement: Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter
Shavonda Sumter was first elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2011, and soon after selected as Majority Conference Leader. Nominated by Emily’s List for the national Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award in 2016, Sumter’s passion for public service began in high school, where she was a four-time elected class president.
Potential VP Pick: Senator Michael Bennet (CO)
Potential Replacement: Deputy Mayor Cary Kennedy
Cary Kennedy most recently served as Deputy Mayor and Chief Financial Officer for Denver — Colorado’s largest city. Prior to that, Kennedy served as State Treasurer for four years and has a long history of managing state and local finances. She started her public service as a budget analyst in the Office of State Planning and Budgeting in the 1990s.
Potential VP Pick: Senator Tim Kaine (VA)
Potential Replacement: Delegate Charniele Herring
Charniele Herring was elected in January 2009, making her the first African American woman from Northern Virginia ever elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Herring chaired the Virginia Legislative Reproductive Health Caucus and, in 2015, was elected Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
And, because I’m from Massachusetts, I feel compelled to list not one but two great women who could follow in the footsteps of Senator Elizabeth Warren, should she be tapped for VP: Attorney General Maura Healey and Congresswoman Katherine Clark.
Maura Healey is the first openly gay Attorney General in the United States. Healey is a tireless advocate for justice, committed to working on behalf of all the people of Massachusetts. Prior to being elected Attorney General, she directed two of the office’s most prominent divisions: the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau and the Business & Labor Bureau.
Katherine Clark was elected to the U.S. House in 2013 and quickly became a strong voice the chamber. In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Clark co-led a sit-in on the House floor to end gun violence with civil rights icon Representative John Lewis. Public service is part of her DNA: Clark previously served as a state senator, state representative, and school committee member.
I’ve been working to elect a woman to the White House for two decades and I’m thrilled at how close we are. However, we can’t forget that there is more work to do to ensure women have a voice at all levels of government. If Clinton’s vice presidential pick is a member of the Senate, replacing that person is an opportunity to bring more diversity to the Capitol. Seeing more women in office changes the way leadership looks and sounds. Electing more women strengthens our democracy.