During one of the most divisive seasons in political history, U.S. senators united to reaffirm the 19th Amendment. On Tuesday, one hundred years to the date from the original vote, senators passed S. Res. 212 honoring women’s voting rights. Senators also made floor speeches wearing yellow roses, the historic symbol for women’s suffrage. Suffrage supporters in the Tennessee Legislature wore yellow roses when they became the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment. Passage in the U.S. Senate on June 4, 1919 was the final hurdle before the race to ratification began.
The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission
The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission is the official federal commission tasked with coordinating the year-long commemoration of the centennial of women’s voting rights. The commission will plan national events and coordinate with states as they plan centennial efforts.
The ideologically diverse 14-member commission includes Chairwoman Kay Coles James, President of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation and longtime Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski (Ret.). Former two-term lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, Rebecca Kleefisch, serves as executive director of the commission.
“The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission brings together 14 commissioners from wildly unique backgrounds to lead the way for the nation to stand united in affirming women’s rights,” said Kleefisch. “We will spend the next year and a half honoring the bravery and determination of the men and women who would not back down until women had the freedom to vote.”
WomensVote100.org is the official website for the federal commission. The site features toolkits for centennial planning across states and communities, educational tools and videos, pictures and profiles of suffragists and 19th Amendment information.
Times Have Changed
As both major political parties battle for the women’s vote, the long-fought struggle for women to gain access to the ballot box experiences new victories in the 21st century. Suffragists would be pleased to know today women’s voting outpaces that of men. In 1872, almost half a century before the 19th Amendment was passed, Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for president. Today there are six women vying for president. The 116th Congress boasts more women than at any other time in history.
Learn from the Commissioners
Commissioners are available for interviews to discuss:
Chairwoman Kay Coles James - President, The Heritage Foundation
Kay Coles James is President of The Heritage Foundation where she has served on the board of trustees for 13 years. Mrs. James' commitment to the principles of free enterprise and individual freedom are evidenced in her career of public service that spans three decades. She has served as director of the Office of Personnel Management, Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Services and Dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University.
Vice Chairwoman Former Senator Barbara Mikulski
Former Senator Barbara Mikulski's political career spans over four decades. She proudly served the people of Maryland in the U.S. Congress for forty years, becoming the longest-serving woman in U.S. Congressional history in the process. Her first elected office was to the City Council of Baltimore in 1971. She then served in the U.S. House of Representatives for a decade prior to her election to the U.S. Senate in 1986, when she became the first Democratic woman elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right.
Jovita Carranza - Treasurer, United States of America
Susan Combs - Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, U.S. Department of the Interior
Marjorie Dannenfelser - President, Susan B. Anthony List
Heather Higgins - CEO, Independent Women's Voice
Karen Hill - President and CEO, Harriet Tubman Home
Julissa Marenco - Assistant Secretary for Communications and External Affairs, Smithsonian
Nicola Miner - Philanthropist and Professor, College of San Mateo
Cleta Mitchell - Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP
Penny Nance - President, Concerned Women for America
Jennifer Siebel Newsom - Documentary Filmmaker and First Partner of California
Colleen J. Shogan - Assistant Deputy Librarian for Collections and Services Library of Congress
Debra Steidel Wall - Deputy Archivist, The National Archives
Rebecca Kleefisch - Executive Director, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission
Connect on Social
Dee Dee Bass Wilbon Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission 703.888.9421 firstname.lastname@example.org