Women have played an active and vital role in Republican politics since the birth of the party in Ripon, Wisc., in 1854, and six years later when Minnesota journalist Jane Grey Swisshelm was dubbed the "mother of the Republican Party."
The GOP was also an early supporter of the women’s suffrage movement and was the first major party to press for equal rights for women, including equal pay for the same work.
The late Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine republican, was the first woman to have been elected to both chambers of Congress. The political action committee Maggie’s List is named after Smith, and promotes the election of strong, conservative women to government positions.
Here’s Newsmax’s list of today’s top 10 Republican women:
Elise Stefanik: At age 35, the New York congresswoman would appear to be too young to be considered “powerful,” but she made a name for herself as one of President Trump’s staunchest defenders during impeachment inquiry hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, where she often butted heads with its Democratic chairman.
Trump noticed, too. “A new Republican Star is born. Great going @EliseStefanik!” the president remarked in response to a video in which she “absolutely wrecks Adam Schiff & the Democrats’ entire impeachment premise.”
Stefanik isn’t afraid to take on her own party elders either.
Two years ago when she expressed a desire to get involved in recruiting more strong Republican woman into Congress, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman cautioned against it, but nonetheless gave her the go-ahead.
“NEWSFLASH... I wasn’t asking for permission,” she shot back.
Kellyanne Conway, since law school, has moved from political pollster, to campaign advisor for Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz, and finally to kingmaker, when she helped navigate the Trump campaign to what most regarded as a surprise victory in 2016.
Now she works from her White House office as counselor to the president and remains fiercely loyal to her boss. Conway is always in demand from news outlets for an interview or a memorable quote.
Susan Collins, the U.S. senator from Maine, is something of a kingmaker in her own right. As a moderate among her conservative colleagues in a party that holds a narrow majority in the chamber, she often finds herself the deciding vote on key issues.
That happened early on in the Trump administration during a heated debate over the confirmation of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. She told the body in an impassioned speech that there was no reason to deny him a seat on the high court -- and he was confirmed.
Elaine Chao, as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, is one-half of an ultimate Washington, D.C.-based Republican power couple. She’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Chao immigrated to the United States from Taipei with her Chinese parents when she was eight and finished her education with a Harvard MBA.
She was previously appointed to the Federal Maritime Commission by President Ronald Reagan, and Undersecretary of Transportation by President George H.W. Bush.
Betsy DeVos, the 11th and current Secretary of Education, survived a rancorous confirmation process created by Senate Democrats. The source of their opposition was the very quality that made her the perfect choice: her dedication to quality education, a dedication that leads her to support school choice and school vouchers. If the public school option is inferior, she believes a child should have the choice to attend school elsewhere.
DeVos is a member of a family of heavy-hitters. She’s married to former Amway CEO Dick DeVos and her brother, former U.S. Navy SEAL officer Erik Prince, founded Blackwater USA.
Marsha Blackburn, a self-described “hard-core, card-carrying Tennessee conservative,” is the junior senator from the Volunteer State.
After serving 16 years in the U.S. House, she took on and defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen in 2018 to win her Senate seat and become the first woman in Tennessee history to do so.
She’s strongly pro-life, anti-Obamacare, pro-Trump, and holds a concealed carry permit, making her every conservative’s favorite poster girl.
Kristi Noem, 48, became the 33rd governor of South Dakota totally on determination, grit, and hard work.
She interrupted her college education to run and expand her father’s ranch and farm after he was killed in a machinery accident. She completed her education part-time while working the farm, and later while serving in the South Dakota House for four years and in the U.S. House of Representatives where she served eight years.
Joni Ernst is the junior U.S. senator for Iowa and a Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) in the Iowa Army National Guard, where she served in the Iraq War.
Her campaign drew national attention when she told Iowans that because she grew up castrating hogs, when she gets to Washington, she’ll already know how to cut pork. “Washington is full of big spenders,” the ad concluded. “Let’s make ‘em squeal!”
She ended up winning the election and flipping the seat red. It was formerly held by retiring Senate Democrat Tom Harkin.
Martha McSally, like Ernst, is a U.S. senator, in McSally’s case representing Arizona. Also like Ernst, she’s retired military. McSally retired as a full colonel from the U.S. Air Force as a combat fighter pilot who saw action in Operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, and Enduring Freedom.
McSally served four years in the U.S. House of Representatives before the governor appointed her to fill the Senate seat vacated by departing Sen. Jon Kyle. She faces a tough special election this year to retain her seat, where she’ll have to defeat a long list of Republicans in the primary before she will most likely face off against former astronaut and political activist Mark Kelly.
Nikki Haley doesn’t currently hold office, either elective or appointive. Yet she may be the most powerful Republican woman in the country.
Haley served two successful terms as governor of South Carolina, during which she lured in new businesses, including Boeing, with the promise of low costs of doing business coupled with “a loyal, willing workforce.”
Although she and Trump were often at odds during the 2016 presidential campaign, they were each able to set aside their differences when the president offered, and she accepted, an appointment as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
While there, she routinely called out rogue regimes, including Russia, Syria, and Iran, while pledging unwavering support to Israel.
In June 2018, Haley pulled the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council. She called it "an organization that is not worthy of its name."
Haley tendered her resignation in December 2018, but she’s not done yet -- she’s only 48. Expect to see her in the 2024 Republican presidential lineup. If so, she’ll be the one to watch, and may be the first person in U.S. history that everyone can address as “Madame President.”
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