Letter: The elephant in the room
Wednesday evening I attended the forum at City Hall so that I could find out more about the candidates running for local office. I did not know most of them and came with an open mind. However, I was struck by the gender bias in the room. A male moderator ran the meeting, picked the questions, and did not allow any audience participation, while the lone visible woman was the timekeeper. Frankly, this is an atmosphere I would have expected in 1950, not today.
Most offensive was Tom Jankovsky, who moved to discredit Paula Stepp because of her supposed lack of business experience. He was smug, red-faced and very disparaging, including uncalled for final remarks which were nothing but a political slur.
Apparently the male reporter from the Post Independent also thought Stepp had nothing substantive to say, since most of the front page article consisted of quotes from Mr. Jankovsky. One of the most painful types of prejudice that women have come to expect is to be ignored or marginalized.
Mr. Jankovsky stated in his remarks that the area is 30 percent Hispanic, and we know it is 50 percent female. You certainly would not know this by looking at our representation by elected officials and appointed boards. Garfield County commissioners: three white men, zero women. Garfield County Planning Commission: nine men, one woman. Glenwood City Council: six men and one woman.
If we really want to benefit all the people of this county, then everyone needs to be represented. Garfield County should be actively recruiting women, minorities and younger voters. They bring important different perspectives to the table that are imperative for healthy local government. Almost 100 years after women’s suffrage, Western Colorado can certainly do better. This is the elephant in the room that cannot continue to be ignored.
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