Will 2018 be the year of the woman?

Chico >> Step aside, boys, it’s time for women to take the stage.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss to Donald Trump last year hasn’t hindered the rise of women casting their nomination for a seat in Congress and the Senate, and two Northern California female candidates are up for that task.

Audrey Denney and Jessica Holcombe were in attendance for the Women’s March On Chico Saturday, where the two congressional candidates are set to run against current 1st District Congressman, Doug LaMalfa, in the upcoming election. Denney and Holcombe took to the stage to introduce themselves, warmly shared their background, and giving insight into what they would offer voters and their community.

Holcombe, a business attorney from Auburn, spoke of her family’s impoverished upbringing and struggle of not having health care. She said she watched her sister lose her hearing in one ear because a doctor refused to treat her ear infection due to a lack of health insurance.

“We are the only industrialized nation who doesn’t provide universal health care for all of its citizens,” Holcombe said on stage. “The reason? It’s the power of insurance companies and the power of pharmaceutical companies. It is time we elect a representative to Congress who is not in the pocket of their corporate donors.”

Denney, an educator with a vast background in agriculture, expressed how the Women’s March On Chico last year provided a resounding space to place her anger, hurt and fear.

“I met women, I laughed with women, I cried with women, I marched with women, and I have never been more inspired and more moved and more ready for action than I was on that day,” Denney said during her speech from the stage.

An overwhelming sense of camaraderie from those she met at last year’s march, along with her desire to seek and make change, was the catalyst for Denney to run, and this seems to be the trend for 2018.

More women are running for office in 2018 than ever before. Currently, there are 390 women set to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, and 49 expected to run for the U.S. Senate, according to the Center for American Women in Politics.

When senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein were elected, California became the first state to be represented simultaneously by two women in the U.S. Senate. Kansas and Maine would follow this election trend later. If Denney or Holcombe beat LaMalfa, this will be the first time a woman holds that seat.

“We have got to close this dark chapter in our history,” Holcombe said. “We will rise from this again, and we have to elect our first congressional representative who is a woman.”