By Matt Trapani and Roxanne Evans
News 12 New Jersey
March 13, 2023

New Jersey has only had one female governor in the state’s history. Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman served two terms in the 1990s as the state’s 50th governor.

“It was important because I became a role model, but you don’t run thinking about that,” Whitman says.

Whitman, a Republican governor, was a moderate who went on to head the Environmental Protection Agency. She says that seeing more women in power is encouraging, but there is still a long way to go.

“Well, unfortunately, it seems to me in many parts of the world, including in the United States that rights for women are being rolled back. And opportunities for women are being constrained,” Whitman says. “What’s encouraging is there are a lot of women who have stepped up and said, ‘OK, we’re going to stop this. This just isn’t right.’”

A supporter of abortion rights, Whitman says the end of Roe v Wade signifies a radical shift in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Dobbs decision from the Supreme Court on abortion – that really energized women and particularly young women but right now, again, if you believe polls, they are saying that a majority of Americans want to see women retain this right to control their bodies,” Whitman says.

Whitman has remained in the political arena and is forming a new political party called the Forward Party.

“You need to respect the rule of law. Agree to uphold the Constitution, work across the aisle, work for economic opportunity for all and agree to change the way we chose our candidates, which means open primaries and ranked-choice voting and working for that,” Whitman says.

She says this is a movement that will give opportunities to all. “At the end of the day it is so important to have more women and people of color at the decision-making table because you need different life experiences, those different ways to address, otherwise you’re not gonna come up with resolutions to problems that will stand the test of time,” she says.

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash