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Few women among Cuccinelli's top picks so far

Rosalind Helderman

Incoming Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli still has a few hires to his top staff to announce, probably next week. He noted at a news conference Friday that he has one of his five deputy attorneys general still to announce, along with a director of communications -- and it's possible he'll hire some senior counsels and advisers as well. But he announced the majority of his inner circle Friday, and they had something in common: With one exception, they were all men.

Of the nine top aides Cuccinelli announced Friday, only one -- Director of Legislative and Government Affairs Audrey Berkshire Jackson -- was a woman. None of the legal jobs -- the chief deputy and four other deputies -- appointed by Cuccinelli on Friday went to women.

"No attorney general in recent memory has had fewer women in his senior management team," said advocate Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, who served as Virginia's first female chief deputy attorney general under Democrat Mary Sue Terry and has clashed with Cuccinelli on social issues in the past. "It's deeply disappointing that in a market that is 50 percent women coming out of law school, his senior management team shows little regard for having the women of Virginia represented."

You might recall that during the campaign, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell bragged that half of the deputy attorneys general he appointed as attorney general were women.

Cuccinelli's newly named chief deputy Chuck James responded to Gastanaga's criticism: "Our leadership team represents the result of an exhaustive search and stands ready to lead the Office of the Attorney General. Each of them will represent all Virginians within the scope of their responsibilities and none of them comes to their position with a notion that they represent a single constituency."

Gastanaga did praise Cuccinelli for this: James will be Virginia's first African American chief deputy AG.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  January 9, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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And you are surprised at this because....

Posted by: ksu499 | January 9, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Who cares, this whole womens issue is a bit worn out, and I have seen quite a few staffs where there are no men, yet nothing is ever said about that. Women are high maintenance and don't work as hard so get over it.

Posted by: mark0004 | January 10, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

No one should be surprised by this. Cucinelli firmly believes that woman's place is in the home.

He also thinks that his personal beliefs (particularly his religious tenets) are more important than the state or federal Constitutions.

He's an absolutely horrible pick to be the state's chief law enforcement officer. Discriminating against women on his leadership team is only the beginning. He was elected by knee-jerk reactionaries, and now we all have to suffer for it.

Posted by: ankhorite | January 12, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

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