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The 2007 General Assembly includes 43 women serving in the N.C. House and Senate, a record number, according to a study by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. Thats a significant increase from 1920, when the first female legislator took the oath. As recently as 1971, there were only two women in the House and Senate, the report notes.
Female legislators are also wielding more power. This year, six of the 12 most powerful legislative committees have a chairwoman or co-chairwoman.
Over the last two sessions, we have seen the most progress ever in legislation addressing domestic violence, notes Sam Watts, a policy analyst for the Raleigh center.
The center found that North Carolina has the 18th highest percentage (25 percent) of female legislators among the 50 states. North Carolina leads the South in the percentage of legislators who are women.
Who said it? Weve had a Congress thats spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop. (Answer below)
Guber bucks: When it comes to gubernatorial paydays, N.C. Gov. Mike Easleys annual salary of $130,629 is somewhat above the national average of $124,398, according to the political Web site Stateline.org. Hes doing quite a bit better than the governor of Maine, John Baldacci, the nations lowest-paid guv, at $70,000. The biggest paycheck goes to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, at $206,500. Of course, we know Easley isnt in it for the money. If he were, hed be in higher education. Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina system, pulls down about $425,000 per year.
Frankly speaking: Rep. Barney Frank, the tart-tongued Democrat from Massachusetts, has never been accused of coddling his colleagues and he wants no special treatment in return, The Hill reports. Members of the House received a letter from him last week making that clear. Courtesy of one of the recipients: Dear Colleague: I appreciate the concern expressed by many about why my arm is in a sling. In order to avoid having to repeat the same conversation, I am sending out this Dear Colleague. I ruptured a tendon in my left arm using a curling machine in a gym, and I had it surgically repaired yesterday at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Ill be using the sling for a week or two, but I feel fine. Thanks for not asking.
Who said it: The quotation is from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, getting in a dig at John Edwards during Tuesday nights Republican presidential contenders debate.

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