Listening to Leaders

Five – count ’em – five current and former US Senators spoke yesterday morning at the Kennedy Institute of the US Senate’s Women in Leadership conference. Given that much of our political dialog   is one step removed from shouting four letters words through a bull horn, listening these Congressional leaders was a refreshing reminder that pragmatic collaboration actually produces results. It was also a chilling reminder how high the stakes are.

Reality TV, said Blanche Lincoln, former Senator (D-AR) has given us reality show expectations. Decorum leads to respect. Now, the more outrageous you are, the more media attention you attack, observed Susan Collins (R-ME). We’re beginning to see people within the institution denigrate the institution.

Contrary to public perception, said Collins, last year on Capital Hill was actually quite productive with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act and a comprehensive agriculture bill.

After winning office, you need to govern said Barbara Mikulski, (D-MD). When HRC was first elected to the Senate, there was the fear that she’d be a diva; not only did she work hard, she worked across party lines.

People vote with their hearts, said Mazie Hirono (D-HI), for Democrats to win, we need our message to connect with people’s hearts. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said of Senator Mikulski that she has a tough mind and a good heart. A tough mind and a good heart might be the winning mantra this election cycle.

Acknowledgement:
Thank you Emerge Massachusetts for providing me with a ticket. Emerge recruits and trains Democratic women to run for and win elected office. There are currently Emerge programs in  sixteen states.

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