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Eye On Boise

Program aims to inspire college women to enter politics, leadership

Twenty women college students from across Idaho are gathered at Boise State University this week for a week-long residential program designed to educate women about politics and leadership. The program, dubbed NEW Leadership, was created by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in 1991; it’s the first time it’s come to Idaho.

So far, the students have heard from women legislators, mayors, business leaders and more, and participated in sessions on everything from effective communications and presentations to social media, interviewing, networking, and strategy building. Tomorrow, they’ll hold a mock legislative session at the state Capitol, meet the governor and other state officials, and hear from a panel of women lobbyists.

Idaho is the 27th state to join the project, which is aimed at addressing the under-representation of women in American politics. Three “faculty in residence” are spending the week with the students: Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise; Montana State Rep. Ellie Boldman-Hill; and China Gum, who served as Sen. Russ Fulcher’s campaign manager for his gubernatorial campaign and has been prominently involved in GOP political campaigns in Idaho. Melissa Wintrow, a BSU prof and one of the conference organizers as well as a newly nominated Democratic candidate for the state House, said, “In the true spirit of women's work in politics, this conference has been a collaborative effort and the product has been powerful.” There’s more info here.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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