Who speaks for women became a question of some debate in the Unicameral.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha took to the legislative floor Monday to praise U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for standing up to President Trump in their showdown about the partial federal government shutdown.
“Don’t ever underestimate the power of a woman,” Chambers stated.
It was what came next that sparked a rare response to Chambers in the legislature.
Chambers stated women had not realized their numbers and how that could translate into real political power. He also asserted himself as an advocate for women’s rights.
Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, a freshman senator from Omaha, rose to speak, reminding Chambers that the 14 women in the 49-seat chamber are the most ever.
“And we will stand up for ourselves and other women,” Cavanaugh stated, looking directly at Chambers. “I appreciate your support, but please don’t insinuate that we’re not here and we don’t have our own voice, because we do.”
Chambers countered women aren’t in the numbers they ought to be.
“And when one or two or three or four token women wind up in an assembly or in a corporation, they should not accept that as progress,” Chambers said.
Cavanaugh responded again from the legislative floor, stating Chambers missed her point.
“I appreciate you being an advocate for everyone, but maybe be just a little bit more thoughtful when you’re talking to women about women.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 minute]