The PolitickerPA.com website has posted it's 2008 Power List of the 50 most politically influential people in the state. It's actually down to 49 now as #35 Dr. John Templeton died a week ago (condolences to the family). [Update: Dr. John Templeton is the son of the recently deceased Sir John Templeton. I did not pay enough attention to the honorific, Dr. / Sir. However, the photo used was of Sir Templeton and this added to my confusion. I am told the phot will be changed to one of Dr. Templeton.] They have good criteria, no one currently in office or on the judiciary, no one who has previously served in state or national office. In their words:
We looked at policy makers, party leaders, fundraisers, lobbyists, labor unions, businesses, and associations and have assembled the ultimate list of Pennslyvanians with clout, with an impact on politics and government in the Keystone state.
I took note of how many women were on the list. There are nine. Here they are in numerical order:
#24 Kathleen McGinty (She has resigned her cabinet post so we'll have to wait and see if she is on next year's list.)
#30 Christine Toretti, business owner
#31 Mary Isenhour, with the PA Democratic Party and former statewide Clinton coordinator
#36 Michelle Singer, Rendell's finance director
#37 Holly Kinser, lobbyist
#40 Tricia Enright, Democratic political consultant
#41 Leslie Gromis Baker, Republican political consultant
#44 Jill McCormack, lobbyist
#46 Laura Kuller, lobbyist
Only one woman is in the top half of the list, and almost half of the women are in the bottom ten, another four are in the 30's. While I recognized the names of some of the men as being former state legislators, none of the women appear to be, though I did not do a thorough search on their names to be sure. Some of the men are in the powerful CEO / lawyer category, none of the women, and other than Singer, none are legislative staffers, which some of the men are. Nor are any of the women associated with the media, though Michael Smerconish, John Brabender and Terry Madonna are listed. None of the women are from associations, such a labor unions, though the #1 man on the list is. So either there are no women visibly exercising their political muscle in those areas or they haven't risen to the top 50 yet.
Certainly there are few enough women in the legislature that it is not surprising female former legislators aren't on the list. One wonders what retiring State Senator Connie Williams will do with her time when she is out of office. While the director of the Pew Foundation is a woman and the Foundation's work certainly affects politics the nature of her work keeps her, at least at present, non-political. The president of the William Penn Foundation and many of the senior staff are women but the same caveats apply here as for the Pew. Carol Fitzgerald has been the executive director of the Pennsylvania Society for many years but may chose not to exercise her political muscle.
Three of the women on the list are lobbyists; I'm not positive but I think that is a higher percentage than for the men. So for women looking to carve out political territory that may be a way to go. Two of the women are political consultants; that may be another pathway. It will be interesting to see what next year's list brings.
No one is ever completely happy with these lists but they make for great conversation. My only real complaint is about the images used if no photo was available. For me it was a gray head shot, but for women it was a gray upper body shot in a casual pose that did not look particularly female to me. I think an identifiably female head shot is out there somewhere.