As many of you know, this is an election year. Despite it not being a presidential year, the potential for paving a new route for Wisconsin is especially high. We have the chance to make a change for the betterment of the state, while simultaneously making history. If two of the four Democratic women running for state Senate in a district that currently has a Republican senator win, the majority party will be made up mostly of women. That would be a first for Wisconsin, and it would be the third state in the nation to have ever achieved this significant milestone—an awesome accomplishment, no matter one’s political leanings.

Following are the contested state Senate seats with a Democratic woman running as a candidate:

Democrat Janis Ringhand is vying for District 15’s open spot, which was vacated by Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, who announced he is not seeking re-election this year. Ringhand will be facing Republican Brian Fitzgerald.

Penny Bernard Schaber, the Democratic nominee for the 19th District, is vying for the open seat that Sen. Michael Ellis, R-Neenah, is leaving after this session. Her Republican opponent is Roger Roth.

Democrat Janet Bewley is competing for the open seat in the 25th District, left by Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, after this session. Bewley’s opponent is Republican Dane Deutsch.

And finally, we have Martha Laning, who I have the privilege of interning for as she runs for the District 9 seat. Martha is one of the most down-to-earth people I have had the privilege of meeting. She is the type of person who knows when a problem arises, the people on both sides of the issue need to work together to compromise and reach a solution that is attainable. That is the type of senator that we need in Madison to ensure things get done.

We see these strong women running for state Senate with great passion to change this state back to what it once was — a state where politicians on both sides of the aisle discuss and find solutions to better Wisconsin. Unfortunately, we haven’t had that cross-party unity in years, and I think we can all see the way it has affected our lives, whether it be through the student loan crisis or the job crisis (which most of us will face upon graduation).

Women bring a different perspective to the table. As much as I look up to many male politicians, women seeking political office and those who are already elected to an office should be admired by both sides of the aisle. Politics is typically a male-dominated field and to see, especially this year, numerous women running for these positions is phenomenal.

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Lastly, a fifth female candidate could make Wisconsin history single-handedly: Mary Burke. She in many ways is similar to some of the Democratic women running for state Senate this year. Burke comes from a family who built a now internationally-recognized company from the ground up. She has never run for political office before, but she is definitely putting up a fight against Gov. Scott Walker. Burke is a trailblazer, being the first woman in Wisconsin to be nominated by a major political party for governor. If she is elected, she will be the first female governor in our state’s history.

From the political candidate lineup, you can tell times are changing and women are becoming more active in politics, making this election season one worth keeping an eye on.

Autumn Linsmeier ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in political science.