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The Source: Slow progress for women in the U.S. Senate

Slow progress for women in the U.S. Senate

For women in the United States Senate, the story is legendary.

In 2008, Democrat Kay Hagan, then a senator-elect, wanted to use the Senate swimming pool. She was told she couldn’t, that it was men-only.

The reason: Male senators liked to swim naked.

Writer Liza Mundy recounts the story in the current issue of Politico. The article is titled, “The Secret History of Women in the Senate.”

It’s a short history. Only 44 women have served in the Senate’s 114 sessions.

“Those few who have were elected to a club they were never meant to join, and their history in the chamber is marked by sexism both spectacular and small,” Mundy writes.

“Even today, the women of the Senate are confronted with a kind of floating, often subtle, but corrosive sexism, a sense of not belonging that is both pervasive and so counter to the narrative of real, if stubbornly slow, progress that many are reluctant to acknowledge this persistent secret.”

Hagan, by the way, got Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to end the male-only pool rule. Jim Morrill

Crimson consolation

Former U.S. Sen . Kay Hagan is getting a nice consolation prize for losing her seat to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis: a fellowship to Harvard.

Hagan will be a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Among those joining her will be fellow Democrats Martha Coakley, who lost a bid for governor of Massachusetts, and Christine Quinn, who lost a race for mayor of New York.

Other North Carolinians to have won fellowships include former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue and former GOP U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes. Jim Morrill

McHenry moves up on banking panel

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry of Lincoln County has been named vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

In his sixth term, McHenry also is the Republicans’ chief deputy whip.

He’s one of three Charlotte-area lawmakers on the panel, with Republicans Robert Pittenger of Charlotte and Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land, S.C. Jim Morrill

2016 starts in eight months

Can’t wait until the start of the 2016 presidential race? Mark your calendars for August.

That’s when the first of the Republican Party’s presidential debates will be held. The first one, to be broadcast by Fox News, will take place in Ohio.

Other monthly debates will follow at least through February, and possibly into March, according to a schedule released last week by the Republican National Committee.

All that means that 2016 presidential candidates are likely to debate before the 2015 Charlotte mayoral candidates. Jim Morrill

Registration still open for Civics

It’s not too late to sign up for Civics 101.

The class is the annual introduction to local government sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Since the first Civics 101 in 1996, Mecklenburg County has almost doubled in population with a surge of newcomers. Some evidence suggests many of them have yet to plug into local government.

In November, only 39 percent of Mecklenburg voters went to the polls. Only six of the state’s 100 counties saw smaller turnout.

Several graduates have gone into local government including Democrats LaWana Mayfield, James “Smuggie” Mitchell and Jennifer Roberts, and Republican Warren Cooksey.

This year, former mayoral candidate Edwin Peacock III will help explain city government. Superior Court Judge Bob Bell and newly elected Sheriff Irwin Carmichael will discuss the court system. And Observer Editor Rick Thames will describe how media cover government.

Weekly classes start Feb. 2. Registration is $50. To sign up, go to Jim Morrill

Caldwell GOP to pick Starnes’ replacement

Two candidates have expressed interest in replacing former House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes.

The Lenoir News-Topic reported Starnes’ wife, Marilyn, and his House predecessor, George Robinson, are interested.

The Caldwell County Republican Party’s 24-member executive committee could name a replacement by the end of the month.

Starnes announced last week that he was resigning after 20 years to become senior policy adviser and legislative liaison for state Treasurer Janet Cowell, a Democrat. Jim Morrill