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Missouri's statewide elected officials are men. Two Kansas City officeholders want that to change

Two women sit in a radio studio talking at microphones.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Missouri Representatives Patty Lewis, left, and Jamie Johnson talk about the lack of women in Missouri political office on Up To Date on July 14, 2023.

In the Missouri General Assembly, only 12 of 34 senators are women. In the House of Representatives, only 45 of the 163 members are women. No woman has ever been elected governor. Missouri Representatives Jamie Johnson and Patty Lewis, both Democrats of Kansas City, say more women should run for statewide office.

Fifty percent of Americans are women, notes Claire Bishop, executive director of American Public Square. The fact that not more of them are represented in public office is one reason American Public Square recently put together a discussion about the importance of woman getting involved in politics.

"I remember a male colleague on the other side of the aisle, said on the House floor that I just didn't understand what I was talking about and I got a little feisty about that because I know my bills inside and out," said Rep. Patty Lewis, who represents Missouri's 25th District. "I absolutely know what I'm talking about and I don't think those types of remarks would be made to a male."

Lewis and Rep. Jamie Johnson, who represents Missouri's 12th District, joined Up to Date to discuss why women might think they have to be perfect, fit societal stereotypes or deal with male colleagues questioning their ability to do the job.

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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As an assistant producer on Up To Date, my goal is to amplify voices of people who serve as pioneers in their respective fields while shedding light on issues that affect underserved communities. I produce daily conversations to uplift and inspire the people of the Kansas City area to make the world a better place. You can reach me at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
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