Jackson shares experiences as politicians

Kandace Sebastian

Discouraging words for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Jackson only make her skin thicken.

She’s heard it all before.

With her hands in constant motion and eyes focused on her audience, Jackson shared her experiences about gaining respect as a woman in politics.

Jackson, who is the former Jefferson County judge/executive, spoke to Saundra Ardrey’s Women in Politics Class Tuesday afternoon.

Jackson is the lone female candidate for governor.

Jackson said her assertiveness and preparedness have carried her though her political career.

“Being in power is like being a lady,” Jackson said. “If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

She talked to the standing-room only crowd about her struggles and determination to move ahead in politics no matter the obstacles.

Jackson said she wanted to be politically active since the day she registered to vote. She said being just a citizen in politics wasn’t good enough.

“Your voice carries more weight inside government than on the outside of government,” Jackson said.

Jackson first ran for public office in 1989. She won the election and became the first woman county clerk in Jefferson county.

She served two consecutive terms and said she smiled when her colleagues told her it would never happen.

In 1998, she won the Jefferson County Judge/Executive election and set another precedent for women in Jefferson County.

“Not only was I the first lady to be a judge, but I was the first to run for the job,” Jackson said, as she paused and smiled.

The shaking of heads signaling ‘no’ for Jackson to run for public office has been a constant act by both men and women since she first ran in 1989, she said.

But Jackson only smiled and said, “If you don’t know it can be done, you can’t accomplish it.”

Ardrey said yesterday she was overwhelmed with how Jackson stuck to the issues with poise and grace.

“Women in politics are judged by the three H’s,” Ardrey said.”Her hemline, hair and her husband.”

Ardrey said that Jackson not only strongly possesses all three with style of dress, appropriate hair style and solid relationship with her husband since she was 16, but she also has the background to be a successful governor.

“She was poised, genuine, but she seemed strong in her convictions,” Ardrey said.

Jackson’s running mate, Fulton native Robbie Rudolph, said Jackson’s stance on the issues is more important than her gender.

“She is governor material,” Rudolph said. “We will be partners, we are a team.”

Liberty junior Emily Fox was in the class listening to Jackson and said it was amazing the odds she faced as a female politician.

“I admire her … She may have broken ground for women in Jefferson County,” Fox said. “She may have even encouraged women in the class to pursue politics.”

Jackson quoted great women such as Sojourner Truth and Margaret Thatcher, to emphasize what a woman can do in politics.

Bowling Green sophomore Jerry Pardue said he was amazed at how prepared and professional Jackson appeared to be.

“She laid all her cards on the table, being as up front as possible,” Pardue said. “She has a lot of experience for the job.”

Reach Kandace Sebastian at [email protected]