Kerry Healey, who served as Mitt Romney’s lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, is co-chair of the new initiative “Right Women, Right Now” that seeks to recruit and support 150 women for state-level offices across the country.
The project is being launched by the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), the largest caucus of Republican state leaders.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Healey — who is now an adviser to Romney’s presidential campaign — discussed the impact the initiative will have on the conservative movement.
Watch the exclusive video here.
“It will be a very important thing to do and I’m very excited about it,” she said.
“As someone who’s served in a statewide office, I know women can do more on the conservative front if they are able to be in those offices. And right now, women represent only 20 percent of state-level elected officials.
“Republican women are doing much better these days in statewide offices generally. We’re making up a lot of ground vis-à-vis Democrats over the course of the last two years. Just since 2010 our numbers have increased over 20 percent.
“But there’s a lot more that we could do. And Republican women have always been the backbone of our party. We do the work, we are strong believers in conservative values. Having more of those voices in place at a state level is going to be a great improvement for us as a party.
Explaining why women have historically been underrepresented in state government, Healey said: “There have been a number of obstacles, many of them simply psychological. The press always causes a certain amount of hesitance for people who are considering entering public life. So simply encouraging women to enter politics, on any level, not just on the state level, is extremely important.
“The idea that an organization as well-respected as the RSLC would be saying they’re going to commit $3 million to this effort and they’re going to find 150 top women across the country and devote themselves to really focusing on those women’s careers, making sure those women’s conservative voices are being heard, is going to make a difference.
“It’s going to give women the confidence and the assurance they need that they’re going to get the support from the Republican Party that perhaps they weren’t entirely sure of before.
“It’s been wonderful for us, as a party, to have Sarah Palin out there and Michele Bachmann out there representing conservative women. But there are so many who I speak to on a daily basis who would be wonderful spokespeople on any number of issues, and having them there is going to make a difference for our party’s ability to really be competitive in the coming years.”
Asked to give an example of a woman we might not be talking about right now on the same level of popularity as Palin but we will be talking about in years to come, Healey told Newsmax: “Certainly, Nikki Haley stands out in my mind.
“I had the opportunity to campaign with her down in South Carolina. You see what she’s overcome in that state, where there are no women represented at all in the state senate. She fought her way up through the legislature and went through an incredibly bruising primary to emerge as the governor of that state. She has such a clear message and a wonderful way of expressing herself.
“She’s going to be a national leader we’re going to hear a lot about.”
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