R. I. P. Bipartisan Maryland Women’s Legislative Caucus, 1972 – 2022

The Montgomery County Federation of Republican Women applauds the actions Republican lawmakers took last week in response to the shameful and disreputable actions of the group formerly known as the Women Legislators of Maryland (the “Caucus).

Formed in 1972 for bipartisan advocacy of “agendas that represent the interests of women and children,” the Caucus, consisting of women members of the Maryland House and Senate, has Democrats vastly outnumbering Republicans. In fact, during the 50 years of its existence, Republicans have been president of this organization only five times. Recognizing this disparity, members of the Caucus had agreed that every third president of the organization would be a Republican. This year, 2022, was the year for a Republican. Defaulting on that agreement, the Caucus last week installed a Democrat as its new president, rather than the Republican who, under the terms of the agreement, should have been installed.

The original mission and bipartisan nature of the Women’s Caucus was to improve public policy that affects women’s lives and to increase the number of women elected and appointed to public service in Maryland. The Caucus’s installation of another Democrat president, in violation of the bipartisan agreement that had been reached, demonstrates that the majority of the Caucus has abandoned its original mission and bipartisan nature.

Republican members of the Caucus then had a choice to make. They could ignore the violation of the agreement, the abandonment of the bipartisan mission, and the disrespect shown to Maryland Republicans, thus lending undeserved credibility to the organization. Or they could acknowledge all of this and refuse to be a part of it or to play along.

They chose the latter course of action: the Caucus’s eleven Republican members resigned from it, and demanded the Caucus change its name to reflect the mission it has clearly adopted: the Maryland Democrat Women’s Caucus.

We applaud this necessary action, and hope Maryland’s Republican Women Legislators remain united in their determination to advocate for the best interests of Maryland’s women and children.

For our government to work properly as designed, it must represent the citizens of our state. That requires cooperation across the aisle. The Democrat members of the Women’s Caucus showed their short-sighted partisanship when they chose to violate their agreement and bypass Republican Delegate Lauren Arikan (R-Harford), and instead install a “progressive” Democrat to fill the spot. Its Democrat members have demonstrated that a Republican cannot be the President of the Caucus unless she shares their political views. For a Democrat President, apparently, no views are too far left.

As women in Montgomery County, we expect to be represented in the Maryland House and Senate, and in the Caucus consisting of the women members of those legislative bodies. While Montgomery County’s female legislators are all members of the Democrat party, they should nonetheless represent all people in their constituency. Like big tech and social media, however, they suppressed the views of conservatives, independents, and even moderate Democrats when they chose to take such aggressive action against Delegate Lauren Arikan, a woman who is respected in the Republican party.

It is sad that, as the Caucus celebrates its 50 years of Democrat and Republican members serving collaboratively in the interests of Maryland’s women and children, the Democrat members chose to strike a death blow to the organization.

We look forward to a new Maryland Republican Women’s Legislative Caucus working together with the solid support it has in Maryland Republican voters, to advance laws that truly reflect the interests of Maryland’s women and families.

Laurie Halverson
President, Montgomery County Federation of Republican Women
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