Virginia Governor Ralph Northam won’t be sworn into office until January 13, but he’s already using his authority to make history.
The new Democratic Governor has announced the last of his 15 picks for cabinet members, bringing a total of eight women to the table. That makes for the first majority-female cabinet in the State’s history, according to his office.
Esther Lee is the choice for Secretary of Commerce. She’s a former Obama administration official with experience as a Fairfax economic development official.
Northam issued a statement:
“Our commonwealth’s diversity is our strength, why is why I made a commitment to building a cabinet that reflects it, I’m honored to have this formidable group of experienced, accomplished female leaders joining me in working to build a Virginia that works for everyone, no matter who you are, no matter where you live.”
Lee just needs to secure approval from the legislature and she’ll become the eighth woman to join the team.
The Trump administration has been criticized for a lack of diversity amongst appointees. Currently, there are only five out of the 23 cabinet positions held by women.
Northam’s move comes as the gender parity issue shoots to the fore in the news. Over in Hollywood, the #MeToo campaign has evolved into the Times Up initiative, a sweeping program designed to address the grievances of women in the industry. One of the program’s many goals is to establish gender parity at powerful companies at the center of business in Hollywood.
Governor Northam is leading by example and bringing that awareness to the halls of government as well. The rest of the country would do well to take note, Northam beat his opponent Ed Gillespie amongst women by 22 points.