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New Executive Director For 50-50 In 2020

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio
Melissa Gesing is the new executive director of 50-50 by 2020.

Melissa Gesing is the new executive director of 50-50 in 2020, a non-partisan organization with the goal of having an equal number of women and men holding office by the end of the decade. Gesing said they help recruit and train candidates from all parties to deal with unique challenges.

“In our trainings, it’s really neat to see women come together and talk about the issues women face on the campaign trail whether it’s questions about raising family and knocking on doors and ‘why aren’t you home with your kids,’ or you know just a lot of those special things women are often asked about that men aren’t," said Gesing.

Gesing said with more women speaking openly about sexual harassment, the message during this year's midterm election is different.

“Before, women were trying to play by the good old boys rules and now some of these issues are taking a forefront and women are feeling more liberated to discuss them on the campaign trail and not pushing it to the side and worrying about the image that portrays," she said.

Before joining the organization as a board member two years ago, Gesing worked on Republican campaigns. Before the 2016 election, she resigned from the Iowa Federation of Republican Women when she couldn’t support the party’s presidential candidate Donald Trump.

John Pemble is a reporter for IPR