National | Politics

Bill introduced in Senate to support placing a woman on $20 bill

Wilma Mankiller
The late Wilma Mankiller was the first woman elected to the position of principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. Photo from University of Colorado

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) introduced a bill on Tuesday that supports efforts to place a woman on the $20 bill.

S.925 directs the Department of Treasury to create a citizens panel to recommend a woman for the bill. Shaheen said she was inspired to take action by the Women on 20s campaign.

“Our paper currency is an important part of our everyday lives and reflects our values, traditions and history as Americans,” Shaheen said in a press release. “It’s long overdue for that reflection to include the contributions of women. The incredible grassroots support for this idea shows that there’s strong support for a woman to be the new face of the twenty dollar bill.”

The non-profit group behind the effort welcomed Shaheen's support. Although Congressional approval is not required to put a new image on the $20 bill, executives said they want to ensure the public stands behind the idea.

“Before we take this proposal to the White House, we want to make sure that the mandate is overwhelming,” executive director Susan Ades Stone said in a press release. “This vote of approval from a member of Congress will hopefully help further raise awareness of our campaign and send our numbers through the roof.”

The group is asking the public to choose among four women whose achievements make them strong candidates to appear on the $20 bill. The list includes Wilma Mankiller, who was the first woman elected to lead the Cherokee Nation.

Mankiller, who died in 2010, wasn't originally a contender for the group's final ballot. But her consideration is significant because former president Andrew Jackson, who appears on the $20 bill, forced the Cherokee people and other tribes to walk the Trail of Tears away from their homelands.

There is no firm date for the close of balloting on the group's website. But the goal is to approach President Barack Obama before he leaves office and to have a woman on the bill by 2020, the centennial of the 19th Amendment that recognized the voting rights of women.

Related Stories:
Wilma Mankiller generates interest for Women on 20s campaign (4/8)
Wilma Mankiller added to final ballot to place woman on $20 bill (4/7)
Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea (3/25)
Column: Replace an Indian killer on $20 bill with Wilma Mankiller (3/18)

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