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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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The role of women in politics is not a new concern in the United States. However, the number of women being elected into leadership positions at all levels of government is growing. Reasons for women's political drive and ambition stem from various aspects of their life. Barry Burden believes that the roots of personal representation like a representative's religion, education, and home life are important factors that drive politicians in their careers. Burden's model can be used to understand why women in leadership roles are motivated in a certain way to represent and respond to constituents. Specifically, this research studies women who are leaders in state legislatures, in both the Republican and Democratic parties. This case study analysis focuses on representatives from Arizona, Oregon, Illinois, Louisiana, and Maine because of the different political cultures each state has. Information on the legislators will come from certified campaign websites, personal websites, and Project Vote Smart. All of these sources combined will help with the understanding and analysis of Burden's model of roots or representation, as it is applied to these female legislators. The goal of this research is to analyze the application and limitations of Burden's model and to gain a better understanding of whether gender does make a difference with state legislative leaders.