Marsha Blackburn: Meet Tennessee’s First Female Senator

March 14 - Sarah Ashlock
Politics/Activism
 

FIRST THOUGHT: Catching Up

I’ve noticed a trend: When a man’s praised for greatness, there’s often a woman in the background who had something to do with it. Let’s celebrate the women who are doing the dirty work, the kind of work that goes unseen or unacknowledged. During Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, he shocked Americans when he appointed Frances Perkins—a woman!—as his Secretary of Labor. We can thank her for being the principal architect of “The New Deal;” you know, that little thing FDR’s praised for that brought relief during the Great Depression. This isn’t 1933. It’s 2019. Let’s be Frances and let’s tell everyone all about it.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 6

I truly believe that if we learned about these women before we hit voting age, we’d have many more women entering the political sphere. Politics still feels intimidating, like a boys’ club. Thankfully, we’re changing that one election at a time. In 2018, there were only six female governors in the United States. In 2019, there are nine.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's First Female Senator

In case you didn’t figure it out, we’re talking about politics today. Currently, women hold only a quarter of the Senate seats, and Marsha Blackburn is one of them. She’s Tennessee’s first female senator and has a robust resume of public servitude.

Like every politician, Marsha’s met backlash for her beliefs, such as being anti-choice and part of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team. But backlash hasn’t stopped this trailblazer from making waves in politics.

A few decades ago, when Marsha was a mother of two young children and a fashion consultant, she broached the subject of politics with a respected and friendly man who knew all about that way of life. He wasn’t fond of the idea, insisting that she’d be wasting her time and money, with no prospect of winning. We can all relate to that, right? Someone not believing in us?

When she won the state Senate seat, said dude became a public supporter and donor. Marsha has served a whopping eight terms in Congress since then. She became known for offering realistic fiscal solutions to Tennessee’s budget problem while serving in the state legislature.

Marsha’s well versed in gathering up excitement and support. Heck, she did it back at 13 when she won a statewide chicken-cooking contest. Later, she’d win a scholarship for “excellence in food preservation.” (Ah, to be a teen in the 60s.)

Being a Congresswoman isn’t the only time Marsha’s been the first female to do a job. A publishing company would hire young men to sell Bibles and books door to door, and after much relenting, Marsha became the first woman they hired for the job. Unsurprisingly, she became one of the top salespeople.

There’s a reason why Tennessee elected Marsha: The people can see themselves in her. When she would knock on the door with books in tow, Marsha would win over housewives by showing them a cookbook during the commercial breaks of their soap opera. Marsha won the hearts—and votes—of Tennesseans.

QUITE THE QUOTE

As Marsha Blackburn said:

"You never let these obstacles and these challenges define you. There is nothing that says you as a female, or you as a conservative female, are unworthy. Not anything."

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