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Missouri Women Lawmakers React to Doles Announcement

October 20, 1999
By: Mamie Smith
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Despite Elizabeth Dole's announcement that she will no longer seek to become the first woman president, several Missouri women politicians say Dole's attempt was a positive step for women in politics.

"I think Elizabeth Dole was a wonderful campaigner and brought new freshness and a new approach to the office she was seeking," Beth Long, R-Lebanon, said. "She has earned the respect of a lot of people. I think she is one of the finest women in America."

Although Dole's decision to abandon her campaign may be viewed as a measuring stick of women in politics, Rep. Marsha Campbell, D-Kansas City, says the overall outlook for women has improved.

"Probably the most important thing is the signal it sends--that women can aspire to [the presidency]," Campbell said.

Dole said that her inability to keep financial pace with Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the republican front runner, forced her to drop out. Between July and September, Dole raised more than $1 million dollars. However, Bush was able to raise $20.2 million in the same period.

Women politicians agree money is the name of the game.

"The unfortunate thing is that money is the most important thing, without money to get your message out it's not going to happen," Campbell said.

In Missouri 41 women serve as legislators, while two hold statewide offices.

"I think we've seen in the state of Missouri, for statewide office, women have done quite well," Campbell said.