Six women will help shepherd new legislation over the next several years as part of Lafayette's seven-member City Council.
Election returns on Wednesday showed that Jamie Harkins, Boulder's sustainability coordinator, would replace exiting council member Brad Weisley to the tune of about 14 percent of total votes, the top spot of the vote tallies.
It marks the highest percentage of female-representation on a city council throughout Boulder County — an area certainly more encouraging in diverse local governments than other Colorado regions — and surrounding municipalities.
Boulder's City Council is made up of six women and three men after Tuesday's election; Longmont's six-member board, including the mayor, is a 2-4 split of men and women. After those communities, Superior leads the pack with three women on its seven-member Board of Trustees.
The progression is easy to dismiss at first glance as isolated to Lafayette, and its left-leaning, progressive sensibilities that have come to define the county at large, but the trend of increasing female engagement in politics — at both the voter and candidate level — is at the forefront of the national conversation across different levels of government.
Women racked up victories across the country on Tuesday, and are being credited with the Democrats' major victories in New Jersey and Virginia, according to election returns.
The result may best be explained in a Politico/American University/Loyola Marymount University poll from May 2017. It found that 70 percent of Democratic women were "appalled" by Trump's victory, and that the women with the most visceral reactions were roughly four times as likely to engage politically after Trump's victory than they were before it.
In 2018, 40 women are already planning to run for governor across the country.
At the state level, the trend may be showing increasing returns, says Taylor Holden, board chair for Emerge Colorado, a national organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for local and state races, with an eye on higher offices eventually.
Harkins and Chelsea Behanna, who Tuesday won her first full term in the seat to which she was appointed last year, are both alumni of Emerge's six-month training program, as well as a handful of other female winners of Colorado elections this year.
"It's not that surprising," Holden said of the splash women have made in politics and the recent election. "This time has been dominated at the state and national level and messages of "Trumpism,' and this is a direct repudiation to that, even in municipal races."
"It's not just not just 'Trumpism,'" Holden said. "At the same time that women are woefully under represented in office, they're coming for protections on campuses and at workplaces, and these things have an impact on people waking up to these facts."
In 2016, Emily's List, the political group that backs female Democratic who support abortion rights, had discussions with a record 920 women interested in running for office, part of what was called the "Hillary bump." Since that election, nearly 20,800 women have expressed an interest in running for office, according to its own tally.
Historically, there has been an increase in the number of women running for office in the US. "when institutions are seen as nonrepresentative and hostile toward women," Celeste Montoya, an associate professor in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, told the Denver Post in January.
Serving with Harkins and Behanna on the City Council will be; Mayor Christine Berg, Stephanie Walton, Alexandra Lynch, Merrily Mazza, and Gustavo Reyna.
"I have two daughters who look up to me as a model for how to go out into the world," Behanna said. "For them to see me put my money where my mouth is, it's really important to me."
That group will oversee the overhauling of oil and gas regulation in the next several months, as well the future impacts the industry will inevitably have on the region. The group will also guide efforts to retool the city's affordable housing stock as the crisis is expected to linger across the county over into the foreseeable future.
"I think it's significant and a change of the dynamics at every level," Berg said of the uptick of women in both voting booths and as candidates.
Berg herself has been in a small percentage of female mayors throughout Colorado, and says the stereotypes of who can and should be in political office lingers even on the local level.
"I've been the mayor for four years now," she said, "and it doesn't matter what demographic I speak to, but there's someone who's always surprised that I'm the mayor. It's a shift in consciousness in who we expect to be in these seats."