Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version

August 2006


Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Women, Politics & Policy (The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 28, No. 314, 2006, pp. 97-119; and: Intersectionality and Politics: Recent Research on Gender, Race, & Political Representation in the United States (ed: Carol Hardy-Fanta) The Haworth Press, 2006, pp. 97-119. Single or multiple copies of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-HAWORTH, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: docdelivery@haworthpress.com].
Available online at http://jwpp.haworthpress.com Copyright 2006 by The Haworth Press, Inc. Used by permission.


In this article, we explore the degree to which African American state legislators have been able to translate election to office into substantive representation. We are particularly interested in the impact of race and gender on the likelihood of legislative bill submission and passage. While previous studies have focused on inter-group representation, our analysis examines intra-group representation by disaggregating race, gender, and party identification. By doing so, we are able to capture the intra-group variation between various groups such as black Democratic men and black Democratic women and white Democratic women and white Republican women. Using the case of Mississippi, the state with the highest number of black elected officials, we examine the legislator's propensity to introduce and pass progressive legislation. We employ logistic regression using cluster standard errors. The results reveal that a progressive bill is more likely to be introduced when a black woman serves as the primary sponsor, as compared to other members in the state legislature. However, contrary to our expectations, African American women are not significantly less likely to get their bills passed when compared to their colleagues. These findings point out the need to build more defined models of legislative policymaking that are attentive to the intersections of race and gender as political categories of significance.