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College Republicans discuss women in politics

Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., looks on as Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. discusses the role of women in the Republican Party in West Hall Thursday. Gabriella Demczuk | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Gina Orlando.

The College Republicans hosted Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., Thursday to celebrate the rise of conservative women in Congress with the duo discussing the glass ceilings women still have to break.

In the latest installment of the CRs’ congressional dinner series, the congresswomen discussed the role of conservative women in their party’s base during the intimate conversation in West Hall.

“There are no women’s issues as far as I’m concerned,” Foxx said. “All issues are women’s issues.”

Foxx was quick to debunk misconceptions about the stereotypical role of women in Congress, although she admitted there are “many more glass ceilings to break, many more barriers to overcome.”

Over the course of U.S. history, 12,000 men have served in Congress, compared with only 273 women, Foxx said.

“One third of the women who have served in Congress are serving now,” Foxx said.

Both congresswomen hail from North Carolina, where they said the “old boys” club has been the common rule for decades.

“[Women] bring something to the table that really hasn’t been there in a while,” Ellmers said.

Ellmers, elected in November’s midterm elections, is a member of the Republican freshman class that came to Washington eager to cut federal spending and reduce the role of government.

“I never wanted to pursue politics,” Ellmers said. “It was when I decided I wasn’t going to be the victim and be a part of the fight.

Sinead Casey, director of public relations for College Republicans, said even on campus the GOP can feel like an “all-boys club.”

“Our [executive] board now has four girls, and we needed a way to celebrate that,” Casey said.

Also in attendance was alumna Steffanie Burgevin, who was a founding member and former chair of the GW College Republicans in the late 1960s.

Burgevin said she was highly impressed with the event turnout, recalling how few conservatives she knew during her college career. She said she was happy to see members of the club eager to ask the congresswomen how to get involved and impact their communities.

“That’s the kind of passion that’s never changed,” she said.

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