Read Keith Ellison's message to women about getting involved

"It all starts with you," Keith Ellison says.
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Keith Ellison has a message for women: Get involved, and lead the way.

Ellison, a Democrat who represents Minneapolis and some of the Twin Cities, wrote what is essentially an open letter to women that was published in Glamour.

In it, he takes the political positions you'd expect from a liberal progressive: that the policies being pursued by Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers will hurt women, specifically in health care and wages. And his entire letter is funneled through that viewpoint.

But in general, both Republicans and Democrats want the same thing – better lives for every American. They just disagree on how to get there. So step aside from his methods here, and his message of activism is one that should be listened to by everyone across the political spectrum.

Here's part of it:

"You may ask how you as an individual can make a difference. You can. There are people and organizations who have been fighting for you and your family for decades. Find the grassroots group that resonates with you. Join a church, synagogue, or mosque that volunteers in the community at a homeless shelter, free clinic, or diaper bank.

Go to city council meetings and speak on policies that impact your community. Join the PTA. I know that working (often more than one job) with all of life’s other responsibilities makes it hard to find the time or energy. It is hard. Find one thing that works for your schedule, even if it is only once a month.

Register people to vote for local, state, and federal elections. Or, consider running for office yourself."

Or, as he says succinctly at the end of the letter: "It all starts with you." You can read his full message here.

Ellison is also in the middle of a bid to lead the Democratic National Committee, and continues to make his case to fellow Democrats that he has the vision to lead the party. He's gotten backing from senators such as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer, and just this week was endorsed by a top union leader and got the support of 300 Jewish leaders.

Women in politics

This letter is addressed to women, and it's worth noting women are significantly underrepresented in government.

Of the 201 total legislators that make up the Minnesota House and Senate, only 64 are women right now – that's about 32 percent, even though women make up just over half of the state's population.

Minnesota has never had a female governor. And while 11 of Minnesota's larger cities (that's over 30,000 people) have female mayors, women are still underrepresented in that spot nationwide. The Center for American Women and Politics says just 18.9 percent of large American cities have women leading them.

(And special shout-out to Moorhead, who has a female mayor and a female majority on the city council – not a common occurrence, which The Forum wrote about.)

Then there are 104 women who hold a seat in the U.S. House and Senate – that's about 19.4 percent of the 535 members that make up U.S. congress, the center says.

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