OPED: The West is being won — by women

Mariel Garza
Los Angeles Times
U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., waits to speak during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, at the Capitol in Phoenix, where Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, rear, announced his decision to replace U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. with McSally in the U.S. Senate seat that belonged to Sen. John McCain. McSally will take over after Kyl's resignation becomes effective Dec. 31.

Who knew that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was a feminist?

For now, at least, he is. By appointing outgoing Republican Rep. Martha McSally to the U.S. Senate to replace retiring Republican Jon Kyl (who had been appointed in September to fill the seat vacated when John McCain died), Ducey has increased the female representation from Arizona in the Senate by 100 percent.

Good for him! McSally’s appointment also means that in a few short weeks, she will join Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate (which might be a tad uncomfortable, given that Sinema beat McSally on Nov. 6 after a brutal campaign for the seat held by retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake).

It’s quite remarkable for a state for that never had a women serve in that position, let alone two at same time.

You know what else is remarkable? As of January, both Senate seats in four Western states will be held by women. In Nevada, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, will be joined by fellow Democrat Jacky Rosen, who knocked off Republican Sen. Dean Heller last month (electorally speaking). The new all-female Senate teams in Nevada and Arizona will join those from Washington state, which has been represented by women senators (Maria Cantrell and Patty Murray) since 2001, and California, which has had only female senators (currently Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris) since 1993.

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Trip on that for a minute. Four Western states.

Of California’s immediate neighbors, only Oregon is the odd (wo)man out with two male senators, though unlike other states it has had a woman in that position before. But Oregon does have a woman serving as governor (Kate “the other Gov.” Brown), so the state gets points for female leadership.

Does this mean I’m saying McSally is a great appointment? No comment. I didn’t follow the race closely, though she was a bit Trumpy for my taste during the campaign and, according to the Washington Post, had to apologize to Cindy McCain for slighting her late husband.

But heaven knows the Senate’s Republican caucus desperately need more women in its ranks. Remember when the Senate GOP couldn’t find even one woman to serve on the committee of 13 men working on a plan to undermine, er, overhaul the Affordable Care Act?