Women will occupy a record number of seats — one in five — beginning in January.
PolitiFact checks Kay Bailey Hutchison’s statement that in January‘we’ll see the greatest number of female senators in our nation’s history.’
In her farewell address to U.S. Senate colleagues Wednesday, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison — the first Texas woman to serve in the Senate — said, “It’s been a long and wonderful 19-plus years.”
Hutchison, a Republican being succeeded by Ted Cruz, added that she departs the 100-member chamber knowing that “January will see the greatest number of female senators in our nation’s history.” Is that right? As evidence, Hutchison “Women will occupy a record number of U.S. Senate seats — one in five — in January, following victories in yesterday’s balloting,” the article said.
Seventeen women are senators now, and two of them — Hutchison and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine — are retiring.
Five women, four of them Democrats, won first terms in the Senate this fall.
The newcomers are Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Heidi Heit- kamp, D-N.D.; and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
So when the new Congress convenes in January, 20 senators will be women, and that’s a record.
We harvested historical perspective from a Senate web page listing the 39 women who have served as senators in the years since an appointee, Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia, became the first to take the oath in November 1922, though she served for only 24 hours.
Hutchison was among seven female senators on her initial swearing-in in June 1993, according to the Senate web page.
Women have held more than 10 Senate seats since 2001, more than 15 since 2007.
Ruling: We rate Hutchison’s valedictory claim as True.
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON
Statement: Says the U.S. Senate will have a record number of female senators in 2013.