Reps. Lesko, Hartzler, Foxx and Wagner: Suffragists fought to give all women a voice. We strive to do so now

We are Republican women in Congress. We represent four very different districts across the country, and each of us brings her unique experiences and perspectives to Capitol Hill. We are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, and sisters. We are conservatives, we are leaders, and we are proud of our principled values.

Every woman in America has a voice and deserves to be heard. As members of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, we proudly stand up and use our voices to represent our fellow American women. The 116th Congress has more women serving than ever before, and we are an important part of this historic achievement.

One hundred years after the U.S. House of Representatives extended voting rights to women on May 21, 1919, we are proud to preserve the efforts of many great conservative women who came before us. In particular, we honor and emulate the suffragists. We look to women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone who fought for all women in politics. Another Republican, Jeannette Rankin of Montana, was elected as the first woman to hold a national office in 1916; a precursor to the 19th Amendment ratification on August 26, 1920. In her swearing-in, she remarked, “I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last.”

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We are proof that she was right.

And we remain committed to the values that laid the groundwork for a country built on liberty and prosperity. Unfortunately, conservative women are underrepresented in many of today’s feminist movements. Our support for protecting the most vulnerable of women among us, those yet to be born, ironically, often makes us outcasts.

We are undeterred. We know our voices matter. We also know there are millions of conservative women across the United States who rely on us to be their voice in Congress while a movement carried out in their name completely contradicts their values. Just as the federal government cannot be expected to speak for all districts and states, one group of women cannot serve as spokesperson for an entire gender.

So, we speak up.

We share our perspectives as former attorneys, teachers, small business owners, farmers, reporters and coaches. We live in the heartland of America, in the Appalachian Mountains and in deserts in the Southwest. We have championed women in our homes as mothers, grandmothers and wives, in our organizations as board members and directors, and as policy makers on local, state and federal levels.

We know our voices matter. We also know there are millions of conservative women across the United States who rely on us to be their voice in Congress while a movement carried out in their name completely contradicts their values.

We believe in getting things done with dignity and without apology.

We defend our national security, support small businesses and give to responsible organizations. We help those in need and support policies that preserve life, liberty and freedom. We want affordable health insurance and protection for those who cannot protect themselves. We recognize government intervention often causes more harm than good and work every day to protect individual freedoms.

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We are not defined by a singular issue but by our shared conviction to serve all Americans through living out our conservative ideals.

The suffragists fought to give all women a voice. We continue to speak out for the values we and so many other women hold dear, because all women should be heard and given the platform they so rightfully deserve.

Vicky Hartzler represents Missouri's 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ann Wagner represents Missouri’s 2nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives.