PLENTY LADYLIKE by Claire McCaskill

“You’re too young. Your hair is too long. You’re a girl. Go find yourself a husband.”

Thus began a 35+ year career of public service, as Claire McCaskill knocked on the door of a potential voter in 1983.

Claire McCaskill is a former state senator from Missouri. Her influence in the Senate has been one of strength as a moderate voice.

While reading this memoir, I was especially intrigued with the sisterhood relationship between the female members of the Senate. They regularly met for a bipartisan dinner – no press or staff allowed. It was a safe place to discuss the unique position in which they found themselves: as mothers, wives, senators and all the competing forces that surround those roles. Periodically, the female Supreme Court justices also met with them. Oh to be a fly on the wall…

While women in political office is becoming more and more acceptable, and blatant gender biases aren’t as prevalent, there are still passively used phrases that are unique to women in the political arena. McCaskill was accused of not being ladylike enough and that her actions were unbecoming of a woman. These comments are a little less abrasive than earlier in McCaskill’s political career when a male legislator asked her if she brought her knee pads(!!) to a one-on-one business meeting.

McCaskill wrapped up her book with a somewhat new challenge for women: Women need to invest in their future by donating money to charities and political campaigns. This is a way in which we can make our voices known about the areas that affect our lives and those of future generations.

I recommend this book to all persons interested in the political trajectory of candidates and how local elections evolve to national elections. Whether it’s a local election or a school or community role – position yourself to do the most good and have the most effective voice for your cause. You can’t use your clout to change the things you’re passionate about unless you have the clout.

I’ve never met a political candidate I agree with 100% and that also applies to Claire McCaskill. But I am proud of her representation of Missouri’s moderate political ideals. As with McCaskill, Missourians are often more willing to cross party lines when it leads to an equitable solution. (A lesson desperately needed in our current political environment.)

This memoir is filled with unflinching honesty, a quick wit and insightful wisdom from one of our country’s leading senatorial politicians

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