Barbour Questioned Over Comment About Lack Of Women In His Administration - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/14/04

Barbour Questioned Over Comment About Lack Of Women In His Administration

Governor Haley Barbour may be in some hot water over the role of women in his administration. After the election, Barbour promised an 'inclusive' administration. But some comments he made just a few days ago have left some women wondering if that includes them.

The controversial comments came at a stop in Tupelo where then Governor-elect Barbour was thanking his supporters. Barbour was asked why he hadn't appointed any women to lead a state agency.

"There's some very competent, capable women to be in this administration. The kinds of jobs we've been dealing with so far - corrections, the highway patrol, public safety, the bureau of narcotics -not exactly the key jobs pointed in that direction," Barbour said.

"I have two words in response and they are Condoleeza Rice," Former Public Safety Director Louisa Dixon said.

Dixon was an appointee during the Ray Mabus years. She led the Department of Public Safety and says women can do anything men can do.

"If President Bush has enough confidence in Condoleeza Rice to be National Security Advisor, I think there are plenty of competent women who could run the Department of Public Safety."

We caught up with the new governor Wednesday in Jackson. He was speaking at a conservation conference.

"The people that you have to choose from, they've had the opportunity to rise high enough in management to have a proven record, the vast, vast, vast majority of them are men. Just because those fields tend to be chosen more by men and less by women," Barbour said.

"You can certainly see that there are times when the best qualified person in one of those fields would be a woman, but it would be rare."

Barbour points out that he's hired plenty of women to fill important roles on his personal staff.

by Davis Brister

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