- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Women have made large strides in Delaware politics over the last several decades, but number of rank-and-file women in the General Assembly is the lowest in 10 years.

The Statehouse currently includes 15 female lawmakers, representing 24.2 percent of the General Assembly, The News Journal of Wilmington reports (https://goo.gl/kIrhwq). There were 21 female lawmakers in 2005.

Former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, the only woman to hold the state’s top elected title, said that fewer females seem to be running for state office. Minner served as governor from 2001 to 2009.

“We went backwards,” Minner said. “The ones we do have (running) . I don’t think they are strong enough. You have to be strong to battle the wars in that building.”

Female political leaders said the dip could partially be the result of recruitment having become more difficult. Longtime Wilmington Rep. Helene Keeley said fewer people seem to be interested in going into politics.

“It’s not without trying to recruit women, or get them involved,” Keeley said. “The fact of the matter is . a lot of people are turned off from politics altogether nowadays.”

Delaware is ranked 27th in the nation when it comes to women serving in politics, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The center grades states based on the number of women serving in statehouses.

Delaware is one of three states, including Vermont and Mississippi, to have never elected a woman to serve in Washington.

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Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., https://www.delawareonline.com

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