Diane Black: “Don’t Let Them Tell You No”
Republicans believe that America is a place where no matter your background or walk of life, you can — and should — be trusted and empowered to pursue your own dreams.
That’s why Republicans in the People’s House are building an agenda to restore a confident America, where every American — including women — feels secure in their lives and futures.
This Women’s History Month, we celebrate the incredible accomplishments of women who have helped blazed the trail — women like Congresswoman Diane Black of Tennessee.
“…at 65 years old, it is an opportunity for me to reflect on the history I’ve witnessed in my own life,” Black writes in an op-ed published onTIME magazine’s Motto.
Below are excerpts from Black’s op-ed, available HERE.
“One of my greatest frustrations at the state legislature was the fact that Republicans, the minority party at the time, refused to even nominate a candidate for Speaker of the House. …It made no sense to me that representatives elected as Republicans would head to Nashville and cast their very first vote for a Democratic Speaker. So I urged some of my more senior male colleagues to come forward as a nominee.
When no one took the bait, I decided to do it myself. The words of the first female British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher echoed in my ears: ‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.’
The opposition to my decision was fierce, even from fellow Republicans who were worried about losing goodwill.
I specifically remember one member of our party leadership who called me into his office and told me, “You’ll learn how to operate once you’re here for a while, but for now, let us take care of this.”
The subtext of his words was clear: Sit down, be quiet and know your place.
[Despite this], I ran for Speaker of the House…and lost.
It would be another decade before Tennessee finally elected its first woman to that position, but I soon learned that what felt like a defeat at the time would pave the way for success later on. The Speaker race gave me the confidence needed to take on another incumbent, this time running for state senate, and later, to serve as the first female Senate Republican Caucus Chairwoman in the state’s history.
In my conversations with prospective candidates, I often remember that talking-to I received in a back office of the state Capitol all those years ago, and I remind women, “Don’t let anyone tell you no.” If we do, we risk denying ourselves an important opportunity.
Click here to read her full op-ed.