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Democratic Candidate Tells Fellow Legislator She’s Too Young And Inexperienced For A Congressional Run

Robin Marty

"Crawl before you can walk?"  Really?

Democratic Legislator Mark Pocan thinks he’s the best choice to take over Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin’s vacant seat in 2012, because he’s good at “working across party lines.” Too bad he’s not quite so good at working with women.

Pocan is campaigning against fellow Wisconsin legislator and Democrat Kelda Helen Roys.  Both are state representatives, Pocan for 14 years, Roys for 4. But according to Pocan, he would make a better Congressional Representative, because Roys doesn’t have enough “experience.” And he doesn’t mean by serving in office.

Via JS Online:

For his part, Pocan said Roys’ legislative experience isn’t enough.

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“Kelda will have a bright future,” he said. “But at this point, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.”

Roys said she’s proud of her record, noting others have been elected to Congress at her age and with her level of experience.

Numerous people of both sexes have run for federal office, often with no political experience at all. But unfortunately, the adages of “waiting in line,” “paying your dues” and other attempts to talk candidates out of running for higher office are often more persuasive to female candidates than to male ones, according to a 2009 Center for American Women in Politics study.

Does Roys, with a law degree, 4 years as the head of Wisconsin NARAL Pro-Choice, and a term in the state legislature really not “experienced” enough to be a Congresswoman? Or is Pocan’s advice to “crawl first” another dismissive, gendered attack on a qualified, female candidate?

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