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Female Legislators in MN At Record High; IA, WI, and SD Lag Behind National Average

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Minnesota voters set a record in November 2006 by electing the highest percentage of female legislators to both the state House (43, 32.1 percent) and Senate (27, 40.3 percent) in Gopher State history.

Overall, at 34.8 percent, Minnesota ranks 4th in the nation in terms of the highest percentage of female statehouse legislators, behind Vermont (37.2 percent), New Hampshire (36.2 percent), and Colorado (35.0 percent), according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislators.

The percentage of female State Senators has more than quintupled in Minnesota since 1980 (7.5 percent) and nearly doubled since 1990 (20.9 percent). The percentage of women serving in the House has nearly doubled since 1980 (14.2 percent).

Iowa and Wisconsin, tied for 26th in the nation with 22.7 percent, were slightly below the national average (23.5 percent). South Dakota ranked 42nd, with females comprising only 17.1 percent of its legislators.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of the 1,735 female legislators serving in statehouses nationwide are Democrats.

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