Julia Stokes

State Representative, Louisiana

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Last year, Louisiana state Rep. Julie Stokes became an Internet sensation when she reprimanded her male colleagues for sexist remarks. During discussion about a bill on the minimum age of strippers, a fellow lawmaker proposed an amendment to also limit a stripper’s maximum age to 28 and her weight to 160 pounds. He drew a sharp rebuke from Stokes, who walked to the podium to address the chamber. “I hear derogatory comments about women in this place regularly. I hear and I see women get treated differently than men,” she said. “It has got to stop.” 

Around Baton Rouge, Stokes is better known for her budget acumen than antisexist rhetoric. She is the only certified public accountant in the legislature and sits on the House Ways and Means Committee. Her expertise is badly needed in a state with year-after-year budget shortfalls and a tax code that ranks among the worst in the country for its complexity. Stokes, a Republican, wants the tax system to be simpler and more transparent, and even though her plans haven’t gone through yet, they have earned some rare bipartisan support. “The right answer is going to be something that works for the broadest spectrum of people.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.


Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.