Image Credits: Sen. Capito's Press Office

Senator Shelley Moore Capito often flies under the radar as it relates to national politics. She’s not usually seen in the spotlight of national media, but she works hard every day for West Virginians and for Americans as the junior senator from West Virginia. She’s a strong ally of President Trump. The senator is a member of four committees:

  • Committee on Environment and Public Works and chairwoman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee

  • Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

  • Committee on Appropriations and chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee

  • Committee on Rules and Administration. 

In addition to all of these leadership roles, she has dedicated herself to empowering girls in West Virginia. After her election in 2014, she created the West Virginia Girls Rise Up Challenge. The Challenge, targeted at fifth grade girls, pushes them to go the extra mile and challenge themselves in three different areas: education, physical fitness, and self-confidence. During the visits, Capito leads the girls in activities and helps them create steps for them to accomplish their goals after the event. She completed five events in 2019 and we’re looking back at them today. 

Capito’s first stop of 2019 was at North Elementary School in March. She partnered with members of the West Virginia University Gymnastics Team to visit fifth graders at the school. The visit included a presentation on what it means to be a confident woman and goal setting for the girls. 

The second stop of the year and the 18th event since the program’s launch came in April, when Senator Capito stopped at Norwood Elementary to bring their fifth graders the program.  In the press release posted by Capito’s office, Norwood Principal Tarra Shields said of the visit, “Her message of leadership, empowerment and self-confidence will encourage our young ladies to reach great heights and conquer new endeavors.”

In May, Senator Capito partnered with IBM to host a joint event for WV Girls Rise Up and IBM’s CyberDay4Girls. Eighth graders from Capon Bridge and Romney Middle Schools travelled to participate in a day focused on female empowerment and STEM education. The Senator’s portion of the day focused on chasing your dreams through goal setting, boosting your self confidence in the face of adversity, and how physical activity can affect both your physical and mental health. IBM rounded out the day with tech-related activities and discussions with female senior IBM staff to discuss what it’s like to be a woman in tech. 

For the 20th event of the program, Senator Capito brought in a heavy hitter to present to the Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond Council in Charleston — former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Girl Scouts in grades K-5 had the opportunity to hear from both women on female empowerment and life as a public servant.

The former ambassador said of the session:

“We want young women like the Girl Scouts to know that if they push through the fear, they’ll end up so much stronger on the other side. Strong girls turn into strong women, and programs like Senator Capito’s Girls Rise Up program will help instill these important values and set these young girls up for a successful future.”

The final event of the year came in October, when Senator Capito invited Fox News host Shannon Bream to Trap Hill Middle School. The women presented to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders on their personal experiences as female leaders and how they overcame adversity along the way. Like the previous events, Senator Capito and Bream gave a presentation and then had the girls break out into groups. Then, they set goals for themselves in the areas of education, physical fitness, and self-confidence.

Senator Capito has been an incredible role model for women and girls in West Virginia. She is the first female U.S. Senator from West Virginia and strives to empower women wherever she goes. The Lugar Center ranks her as the seventh most bipartisan member of Congress. She is up for re-election in 2020, but Cook Political rates her race as Solid R.

Jillian K