Women in Politics in the American City

Holman, Mirya R. 2015. Women in Politics in the American City. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. 

How do female municipal leaders influence policymaking in American cities? Can gender determine who gets a say in local politics or what programs cities fund? These are some of the questions raised and answered in Mirya Holman's provocative Women in Politics in the American City.

This book provides the first comprehensive evaluation of the influence of gender on the behavior of mayors and city council members in the United States. Holman considers the effects of gender in local, urban politics and analyzes how a leader's gender does-and does not-influence policy preferences, processes, behavior, and outcomes.

The book can be found at Temple University Press or on

Good Reasons to Run

Shames, Shauna, Rachel Bernhard, Mirya R. Holman, and Dawn Teele. 2020. Good Reasons to Run. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

After the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, a large cohort of women emerged to run for office. Their efforts changed the landscape of candidates and representation. However, women are still far less likely than men to seek elective office, and face biases and obstacles in campaigns. 

In this edited volume, Shauna Shames, Rachel Bernhard, Dawn Teele and I assembled a wide set of contributors to consider the reasons why women run—and do not run—for political office. 

The essays in Good Reasons to Run ask not just who wants to run, but how to activate and encourage such ambition among a larger population of potential female candidates while also increasing the diversity of women running for office. 

The book can be purchased from Temple University Press, Amazon, or Powells

The Power of the Badge

A sobering exploration of the near unchecked power of sheriffs in the United States.

Across the United States, more than 3,000 sheriffs occupy a unique position in the US political and legal systems. Elected by voters—usually in low-visibility, noncompetitive elections—sheriffs oversee more than a third of law enforcement employees and control almost all local jails. They have the power to both set and administer policies, and they can imprison, harm, and even kill members of their communities. Yet, they enjoy a degree of autonomy not seen by other political officeholders.

The Power of the Badge offers an unprecedented, data-rich look into the politics of the office and its effects on local communities. Emily M. Farris and Mirya R. Holman draw on two surveys of sheriffs taken nearly a decade apart, as well as election data, case studies, and administrative data to show how a volatile combination of authority and autonomy has created an environment where sheriffs rarely change; elections seldom create meaningful accountability; employees, budgets, and jails can be used for political gains; marginalized populations can be punished; and reforms fail. Farris and Holman also track the increasingly close linkages between sheriffs and right-wing radical groups in an era of high partisanship and intra-federal conflict.