May 2019

U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen

Fighting for Women & Nevadans

By Lynn Wexler

Jacky Rosen has lived in Nevada for nearly 40 years. Growing up in a working-class family, she was the first to graduate from college. A member of the Democratic Party, Jacky ran for Congress in Nevada’s competitive 3rd District in 2016 because, as she explains, she saw an opportunity to make a difference for her community. As one of the most bipartisan members in the House, Senator Rosen worked across party lines to find common ground and deliver results for Nevadans. Joining the Senate this year, she encourages early childhood STEM education, especially for young girls.

Please share your own background and journey to the realm of politics as a female?

I am the proud granddaughter of immigrants. From a young age, my family taught me the values of hard work, determination, and persistence. As I grew older, I carried those values with me. When I went off to college, I worked my way through school as a waitress, including one summer at Caesars Palace. Before I came to Congress, I worked as a computer programmer and a systems analyst in what has long been a male-dominated industry. I also served as the president of my synagogue, Congregation Ner Tamid, the largest Reform Synagogue in Southern Nevada.

What obstacles, if any, have you encountered?

During my time as a computer programmer, I, like the vast majority of women today, witnessed wage discrimination and the many difficulties that come with confronting gender stereotypes. This experience informs how I legislate; it’s a reason why I’m fighting for affordable child care, to end pay discrimination, and to provide paid family leave.

To what do you attribute the recent rise of women in politics?

Across the United States, we’re seeing strong, passionate, trailblazing women who are stepping up to lead. And it’s not just in politics; women are making strides across all industries, such as in business and science. Women are stepping up because things weren’t getting done, problems weren’t being solved, and critical policies weren’t getting passed.

What do you think needs to change for the first woman to be elected to the White House?

I think that as long as women keep supporting one another, there is no new ground that we cannot break, and there is no glass ceiling that we cannot shatter. Having more women in government, and in leadership across our communities, allows for a more collaborative and inclusive dialogue on the issues that matter. I’m proud to be part of such an incredible movement of female leaders, but more importantly, I’m thrilled to help empower women who are looking to break barriers along the way.

How does being Jewish influence, impact, and inform your legislative role as Senator?

I’m honored to serve in Congress as both the third female Jewish Senator in U.S. history and the only former synagogue president serving in Congress. During my tenure as a synagogue president, I witnessed firsthand the beauty in our country’s religious diversity and how community engagement strengthens America. A teaching that has always resonated with me is the Jewish philosophy of Tikkun Olam, the idea that it is up to each and every one of us to take part in repairing the world. This helped to shape the person I am today. It guides me in both my personal and professional life, as well as in fighting for the issues that matter to me and my constituents.

Why is anti-Semitism on the rise in politics?

In the United States, according to FBI data, anti-Semitic hate crimes rose by 37 percent. This plague of hatred is no longer just coming from extremist groups or groups pushing shadow conspiracy theories on the internet. In large part, the source of this new wave of anti-Semitism is coming directly from actors in our own political system. This hate is not bound by political affiliation. We have a moral obligation to put a stop to this disturbing trend by calling out even our friends when they cross the line and by standing up against bigotry and anti-Semitism wherever it might rear its ugly head: left, right, or center. During my time in Congress, I’m proud to have been part of a bipartisan task force to end anti-Semitism. I’ve also fought to ensure the State Department appointed a special envoy to combat anti-Semitism, and I helped re-introduce a bipartisan bill to upgrade the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism globally to the rank of Ambassador and mandate that this position, which remained vacant for two years under this Administration, is always filled.

What words of encouragement can you share with our readers, especially women, who want to make a difference?

Our politics works best when people get involved. No matter who you are, or what background you come from, there is a place for you in politics. Take part in fighting for the issues that you care about, take part in building bridges toward civility, and take part in coming together to repair the world. Also, to any young women reading this, many people are calling this the “Year of the Woman.” I have a request: Let’s prove them right. Let’s keep fighting, keep breaking down barriers, and keep working to build better communities, a better state, a better country, and a better world.

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