In addition to its history-making moment for the White House and the nation, with the highest turnout in literally a century, Tuesday’s election is bringing a new wave of women to Washington.. WVFC plans to go into more detail  as things proceed, but today and tomorrow we’ll offer a quick roundup of the highlights (with video). First, our two new female Senators, and a possible Cabinet post for a House veteran:

Senate: Former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen, 61, had bounced back well after losing her 2002 Senate bid to John Sununu, becoming president of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She wasn’t planning to run again , she told the Associated Press, “but she said she could not sit by and watch Washington’s failures…..this year, Shaheen had the twin advantages of Barack Obama’s coattails and growing Democratic strength in New Hampshire.”

In North  Carolina, a hard-fought race brought victory to Kay Hagan, 57.  “Hagan arrives in Washington with extensive experience working on budget issues in the state Senate, where she served on the Appropriations Committee,” says Congressional Quarterly. Her rise is being compared to that of her late uncle, former Florida Sen. Lawton Chiles, also known as “walkin’ Lawton” for his tireless door-to-door campaigning.

House: While the returns for the House showed fewer similar new stars, special attention must be paid to one veteran, California’s Jane Harman (highlighted by Newsmix in August). Harman, who has “built strong, working friendships not just with Republicans across the aisle but with key officials in perhaps the most obstructionist Republican White House that Congress has ever encountered,”  is reported to have been quietly campaigning as a contender  for a scarily top job, even before Tuesday’s vote: “Now, Harman has set her sights on a higher goal: an appointment as director of national intelligence, overseeing the vast almost $50 billion, 16-agency US intelligence community—or, alternatively, Homeland Security secretary.”


Tomorrow, Newsmix will highlight the women at the core of President-elect Obama’s transition team – from constitutional scholars to Michelle Obama’s chief of staff.

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