The youngest woman ever elected to Congress is now the first woman to take charge of the Republican Party's House candidate recruitment efforts. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), just 32, has taken the role of head of candidate recruitment at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and she is strategizing to end the GOP's woman deficit.
Her own role is part of the project. "I think the more women we have in leadership positions, the more women will see examples, [the more women] can see themselves in those roles," Stefanik said to The Hill. "So I think being in the leadership role of chairing recruitment is a step in the right direction." At present, women make up less than 10 percent of House Republicans, while House Democrats are nearly a third female.
Democrats have a less dramatic underrepresentation problem in significant part because they've spent years building organizations like the deep-pocketed EMILY's List to recruit female candidates. Now, Republicans are working to catch up. "The fact that [Stefanik is] a woman who is a conservative who is going to be in charge of [the NRCC] recruitment effort? That's important, because we need to boost those numbers," said Missy Shorey of Maggie's List, a conservative counterpart to EMILY's List. "When they see Elise, they see: She did it, now I can do it."