Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Virginia—A Male Dominated State?

I was researching the boundaries of some of the congressional districts in the Commonwealth when I looked at the photographs of our representatives. Guess what? They are all men. And, of course, both of our U.S. Senators are men. At the state level, only about 15% of the members of either the Senate or the House of Delegates are women. All of our state-wide offices—governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general—are men.

Loyal reader, did you know that the voters of Virginia have never elected a woman as Governor? They also haven’t ever elected a woman as Lieutenant Governor. Only once have we elected a woman to be our Attorney General. That was Mary Sue Terry who served from 1986 until she resigned to run for Governor in January 1993.

Now, we may ask, trusted reader, why a state like Virginia has elected so few women to public office. Aren’t we the state that made history by electing an African American to be our Lieutenant Governor in 1985 and our Governor in 1989?

This year we in Virginia have the opportunity to elect a woman—Jody Wagner—to a state-wide position. Don’t misunderstand me. I would not vote for or against a candidate simply because she is a woman. So I wouldn’t ask you to do that either. However, in the case of Jody Wagner, she is clearly the better-qualified candidate.

If you take a minute to get past Bill Bolling’s ridiculous attack ads (the only things he hasn’t blamed on Jody, yet, are the biblical plagues), you will see clearly that Jody is the one to vote for. During the past eight years, Jody has worked for both Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kane in positions involving the financial operations of Virginia government. She deserves at least part of the credit for Virginia having the best managed state government and for Virginia being one of the best states in which to do business. Jody understands the workings of Virginia government better than any of the candidates running for any state office this year.

And Bill Bolling? During the last eight years he has presided over the Virginia Senate and served in that Senate—four years each. That’s it! There is nothing in his resume to suggest that he is qualified to be Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, and the past four years have proved it. His record as Lieutenant Governor since 2006 is unremarkable at best. (Why else the attack ads? If he had done a good job, he could have run on his record.)

So, in voting for the clearly better candidate, we Virginia voters can also elect our first female Lieutenant Governor. This is our best opportunity in twenty years to make a dent in the male-dominated government of the Commonwealth.


Roger Mc Cauley said...

Dear Maven.

There are two major weaknesses in your argument. The first is that the group of guilty men were the ones to get Virginia to the point of being the best managed State. Second, the next Governor will be a Republican and it would be a mistake to have the Lt. Gov of a different party sitting as the head of the Senate.

Extending your logic, would you support two very qualified Republican women who might chose to challenge our two male Senators on the theory that it is time to break from our male dominated history?

Anonymous said...

I would argue that there were no qualified women running. Va. voters would vote for a qualified female candidate.