Group to present its list of priorities at January 23 meeting

The bipartisan Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) recently elected its co-conveners for 2019 including Senators Rosalyn H. Baker and Laura H. Thielen and Representatives Lauren Matsumoto and Linda Ichiyama. New co-conveners are elected every two years.

Six of the 10 new representatives elected to the House in November are women. The House now has 17 women representatives, fully one-third of the 51 total members.

"The Women's Legislative Caucus continues to support and promote issues that are important to women and families," said Rep. Linda Ichiyama (Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake, Āliamanu). "With more women holding public office, our voices grow even stronger."

The WLC, comprised of women elected to state and county offices, is currently finalizing its package of priorities to be introduced during the 2019 legislative session. The caucus will meet on Wednesday, January 23 at the YWCA of Oʻahu, 1040 Richards Street, to announce the package of bills.

The meeting will include a press conference, breakfast, and panel discussion starting at 7:45 a.m.

"Across the country, we are seeing more women running for elected office and winning," said Sen. Laura H. Thielen (Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimānalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock). "The way we put these gains to work is by writing and passing legislation that protects women and children against violence, ensures quality healthcare, and increases economic opportunity for women."

"With the historic national midterm election sending more than 100 women to Congress and the increase in women elected locally, it is clear that women are coming out to support each other on critical issues," said Sen. Rosalyn H. Baker (South and West Maui). "The bipartisan WLC gives us a forum to focus on what we have in common rather than our differences."

"We're a strong group of women with diverse ideas and backgrounds, and I'm confident that we will achieve great things for the people of Hawaii," said Rep. Lauren Matsumoto(Schofield, Mokulē‘ia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, Mililani).

Elected women in Hawaiʻi by the numbers:

  • Thirty-three percent of the representatives in the 2019 Hawaiʻi State House are women: 17 out of 51. Of particular note, in the large incoming freshmen class of 2019, six out of 10 new members are women.

  • In the State Senate, 28 percent of that body is represented by elected women. Seven out of 25.

  • In an unprecedented election, Maui County chose women candidates for six out of nine county council seats, a 67 percent representation. This year both the council chair and vice chair are women of color.

  • On Kauaʻi, only one woman was elected to county council. With seven seats, that’s a 14 percent representation.

  • Hawaiʻi County has robust representation by women: six of the nine county council seats are held by women, a 67 percent representation.

  • On Oʻahu, four of the nine city council positions are held by women. That is a 44 percent representation.

  • On the federal level, women hold 50 percent of our congressional and senatorial seats.

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