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WDN Honors Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers with 2014 Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award
At a reception in the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers accepted the 2014 Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award recalling her work with Rep. Donna Edwards supporting Afghan women and highlighting the importance of the work of WDN and mentorship in encouraging women’s political participation.
“I am proud of the work of the Women’s Democracy Network, it is important what you’re doing here and all around the world,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “Jeane Kirkpatrick certainly was a trailblazer, and for me she was someone that I greatly admired and to receive this award is very humbling.”
In presenting the award, Ambassador Mark Green, president of the International Republican Institute (IRI), said of Rep. McMorris Rodgers, “Her exceptional career in politics is an inspiration to women around the world…Rep. McMorris Rodgers has been a champion for women’s democratic rights and political participation through her own life story, her historic legislative leadership on both the state and federal level, and through her work on behalf of Afghan women and others around the world.”
Green also reminded the guests of the high price some women still pay for standing up for their rights. “Today as we gather to celebrate one leader’s accomplishments, I’d ask you to also pause, mourn and honor another leader’s sacrifice. You see, a great friend of WDN, brave Libyan activist Salwa Bughaigis, was recently murdered as she stood up for democracy.”
Rep. McMorris Rodgers represents eastern Washington in Congress and serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the fourth highest-ranking Republican, and the highest ranking female Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. She also serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where almost half of all legislation pertaining to the economy must pass.
First elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1994, McMorris Rodgers served as House Minority Leader from 2002-2003, the first woman to lead a House caucus of either party. In 2004, McMorris Rodgers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
During her time in the House, she has served on the Republican Whip Team, as Minority Leader from 2002-2003, the first woman to lead a House caucus of either party. In 2004, McMorris Rodgers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives chairwoman of the National Task Force on Improving the National Environmental Policy Act and as co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Women’s Caucus. In 2008, McMorris Rodgers was elected vice chair of the House Republican Conference, a position she was re-elected to in 2010. In 2012, she was elected chair of the House Republican Conference.
In addition to chairing the House Republican Conference and sitting on the Energy and Commerce Committee, McMorris Rodgers serves as co-chair of the Congressional Rural Health Care Coalition, the Down Syndrome Caucus, Military Family Caucus, Lumber Caucus and Neuroscience Caucus.
The Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award recognizes honorees for their commitment to increase women’s political and civic participation within their own communities and on behalf of women worldwide. A long-time board member of IRI and the first woman to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Kirkpatrick was a strong advocate for women’s participation in politics and the establishment of WDN. Her remarkable career and leadership are an inspiration to women around the world.
Established in 2006, WDN is an initiative of IRI to increase women’s political participation, leadership and representation in elected office. The Network is currently active in 61 countries in every region of the world with 14 country chapters.