Brooklyn's Congressional Representative Nydia Velazquez, one of the relatively few women serving in the US Congress, survived a bitter Democratic primary battle yesterday. And personally, I'm glad, in part because of gender.
The disproportionate lack of women in Congress is something of an embarrassment for a society that prides itself on equal representation. Just 90 out of 535, less than one in five, of our Senators and Congressional reps are female.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics in 2012:
Women hold 90, or 16.8%, of the 535 seats in the 112th US Congress -- 17, or 17.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 73, or 16.8%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In addition, three women serve as Delegates to the House from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC.
Nydia Velazquez was challenged for her lower Manhattan and Brooklyn seat by NYC Councilman Erik Dilan. The election for the seat in District 7 (which, since its rezoning, includes Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill) won't be until November, of course, but Nydia's primary win ensures that we won't lose another woman in Washington.
She's served in the House of Representatives since 1993, and has been an important role model for women, as recently as May issuing statements on the Violence Against Women Act and the President's announcement regarding same sex marriage.
Velazquez is also chair of the House Committee on Small Business, a good thing for Brooklyn.
(If you're interested, see Linda Lowen's Women's Issues on this website, and read Powerful & Famous Brooklyn Women: Female Members of Congress from Kings County.)