In the year that I was born, 1974, the Women’s Movement in the US was in full swing. In the NC High Country, one woman, one mom, was beginning her journey to becoming only the 3rd woman to represent North Carolina in Congress, and the only woman ever elected from Watauga County to the US House of Representatives. Regardless of your political views, Virginia Foxx is an inspiration to moms who just want to make a difference in our community! She shows us that with hard work and determination, we can become an influence in our County, State and Country.
I asked Representative Foxx some questions about her journey to the Legislature as a woman.
1. As a mom and educator, what made you first seek to be elected to public office?
One night at a Watauga School Board meeting in 1973, the members were being very ineffective and someone suggested that I run for the school board. At first I protested by saying that I was not qualified. Then, I was asked if I felt as qualified as the sitting members, and realized that I was much more qualified. I filed to run in 1974 and was told that I was the first woman ever to file to run for the board of education. I lost that election by about 200 votes but was encouraged to run again in 1976 and was the top vote getter. I was elected again in 1980 and 1984. I did not seek reelection in 1988 because I had become President of Mayland Community College and did not have the time. In 1994 I was recruited by my party to run for the NC Legislature where I served in the NC State Senate for 10 years (5 terms). In 2003, Congressman Richard Burr chose to run for the US Senate and people encouraged me to run for the 5th Congressional District.
2. What has been the most significant challenge as a female legislator?
Men are very much still the majority in the state legislature as well as the Congress so it is much more difficult for a woman to be paid attention to. There are bonds among men that are difficult for women to develop with men who are in leadership, unless individuals have been friends for a long time. And, of course, outside the legislative bodies, there is still a great deal of prejudice against women holding such offices. Many women in full time elected office face the same challenges that all working women face: we have a full time paying job and then major responsibilities in the home which are ongoing every day.
3. What advice would you give a High Country Mom, who wants to make a difference in the community? Who may want to serve in government in the future?
First determine where your strongest interests lie. Not everyone enjoys serving in elected office but there are needs for citizens in many different places such as appointed boards and commissions. If the interest is in elected office, become as knowledgeable about the issues pertaining to that office and form as many networks as possible before even expressing an interest in serving in office. In so far as possible, be economically independent of the office.
For more information about Rep. Virginia Foxx, visit her official website, http://www.foxx.house.gov/, or her campaign website, http://www.virginiafoxx.com
Early Voting is underway in North Carolina! You can still register to vote up until Monday, November 3! For information, call the Board of Elections in your county:
Ashe: (336) 846-5570
This article makes no express political endorsement, but serves as an encouragement to women, regardless of political party. Comments are welcome, but overtly political or negative comments will be moderated, as this is not the purpose of the High Country Mom Squad. Feel free to share your political or negative opinion on a local political or news blog, or share your positive comment on one of the other profiles:
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