My biography of Jeannette Rankin is published during Women's History Month

At a time when women and men are celebrating the overwhelming success of women in the fall congressional election (a record 127 women, almost 25 percent of Congress, took office in January), I am proud to release my new middle-grade biography - Jeannette Rankin: America's First Congresswoman. When I first read about Rankin, approximately a year ago, I thought she was an obvious choice for my Groundbreaker Series - An extraordinary person who accomplished extraordinary things. I thought all kids should learn about her. 

     Rankin ran and was elected to office even before women had the right to vote across the country. But women had the right to vote in in Montana - so she earned their support (and the support of enough men) and was elected. She had become famous in Montana because she led the state's suffrage movement. After she was elected to the House of Representatives, in 1916, and then relected in 1940, she became the one and only member of Congress to vote against the U.S. entering World Wars I and II. Talk about a person with guts. She was so opposed to war that she didn't care about public opnion, or what people said or thought about her. She was just downright opposed to war: "I was thinking of the pledges I had made to the mothers and fathers of Montana that I would do all in my power to prevent their sons from being slaughtered on foreign battlefields," she said in 1941, after voting against war - after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Rankin stood by her beliefs throughtout her long career of activism. In 1916, she had said that if women were responsible and smart enough as mothers to care for America's children, they were responsible and smart enough to be in Congress and help run the country. Would Rankin be satisfied with the 2018 election results? I think not. With the female population in America almost 51 percent, I believe Rankin would say, 103 years after she first took office, that Congress should be at least 51 percent female. I would agree with her. 

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