In 1949, the voters of western Indiana elected Cecil Murray Harden, a Republican, to the U.S. House of Representatives. Cecil was elected four more times before being defeated for a sixth term in 1958. To this day, most people suspect that the name “Cecil” is what contributed most to that first win. Why? Because to this day, Cecil Murray Harden is the only Republican woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress from Indiana. Many believe that, had her name been Cecilia, she would never have been elected. I am not convinced by that argument, because the voters chose her four more times before electing someone else. I doubt that Rep. Harden was able to hide her gender for 10 years!
Now, in 2012, Indiana may be on the verge of electing two Republican women to Congress. Both are favored at this time. Jackie Walorski is seeking the District 2 seat that runs from Kokomo to Elkhart. Previously the seat was held by Joe Donnelly, a Democrat who has opted to run for U.S. Senate to replace Richard Lugar. Jackie has a wealth of experience, having served in the Indiana House of Representatives for three terms. The IBA Government Relations Team has worked with Jackie on many issues. She is supportive of the banking industry and understands the importance of banks in the recovery of our faltering economy.
The second woman Republican is Susan Brooks, a candidate in a heavily Republican District 5. Susan worked her way to the top of a large field of candidates in the primary to replace Rep. Dan Burton, who decided not to stand for election again after serving for 28 years. I have known Susan for about 10 years, having met her socially through mutual friends. Although this is the first time she has sought public office, she brings an impressive resume that includes being a federal prosecutor, attorney and business executive with Ivy Tech Community College. The IBA GR Team and a few bankers met with Susan during the primary race, and I have visited with her since.
If Jackie and/or Susan are successful this fall in the general election, it will be an historic event for Indiana. I suggest it will be a good day for bankers, too.