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Blackburn, Gillibrand, other women senators, move to commemorate 19th Amendment’s centennial


Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday introduced S.1235, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote.

New York was the site of a women’s rights convention that accelerated the effort to extend the vote to women. Tennessee was the 36th and final state needed to ratify the 19th amendment.

The measure honors the centennial and the legacy of the suffrage activists with a commemorative coin minted by the U.S. Department of Treasury. All 25 female Senators support the legislation. For the first time in U.S. history, one-fourth of the members of the U.S. Senate are female.

“The 2020 centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment is a rare moment to celebrate the milestone in American history that made it possible for women to finally have a voice in government,” Blackburn said in announcing the legislation. “Ninety-nine years after women gained the right to vote, I became the first woman from Tennessee to serve in the United States Senate. I am honored to work with Senator Gillibrand, and all of the women in the Senate, to commemorate the pioneers and trailblazers who made it possible for us to be members of this chamber.”

19th amendment
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

“The passage of the 19th Amendment was one of the great milestones in American history, and now that we are approaching the 100th anniversary of that hard-fought achievement, we need to do everything we can to celebrate it and learn from it,” Gillibrand said. “I am proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with Senator Blackburn to create a commemorative coin in honor of the centennial of women’s suffrage, and as a New Yorker, I am especially proud to celebrate a historic movement that was born and planned in our state. As we honor the unparalleled importance of the suffragists, I will continue to do everything I can to help ensure that all Americans have access to their sacred right to vote today.”

 The year 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote.

The women’s suffrage movement began in July 1848 with the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York. The fight concluded in August 1920 in Nashville, Tennessee, 140 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Tennessee was the 36th and final state needed to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

S.1235 is cosponsored by Senators Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cantwell (D-Wash.), Capito (R-W.Va.), Collins (R-Maine), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ernst (R-Iowa), Feinstein (D-Calif.), Fischer (R-Neb.), Harris (D-Calif.), Hassan (D-N.H.), Hirono (D-Hawaii), Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), McSally (R-Ariz.), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Murray (D-Wash.), Rosen (D-Nev.), Shaheen (D- N.H.), Sinema (D-Ariz.), Smith (D-Minn.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Warren (D-Mass.).

Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Brenda Lawrence (D- Mich.) have introduced companion legislation in the House as part of the bipartisan, bicameral effort to honor the centennial with a commemorative coin.

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