A reception was held in Columbia Tuesday to honor South Carolina women running for office. Special guest was Bostonian Dr. Kerry Healey, former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and a senior advisor to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Healey is an advocate for increasing women’s participation in government at all levels. In her tenure as Lieutenant Governor, she joined Governor Romney in supporting a Gubernatorial Appointments Project (GAP) initiative in Massachusetts to increase the number of women in all appointed positions including those on boards and commissions.
Healey says she came here because the Palmetto State comes in dead last for the number of women in government leadership.
The Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics has a similar GAP program and plans to supply the new governor with the resumes of hundreds of women qualified to serve in cabinet and senior staff positions as well as the more than 800 open seats on state boards and commissions.
Democratic candidate Vincent Sheheen has signed a pledge to put more women in leadership positions in government, but Republican Nikki Haley, the leading candidate, has refused to sign any pledge. Healey says she understands.
It’s not uncommon that politicians say “no” to all pledges because they’re being buffeted by so many organizations that want them to do pledges that sometimes it becomes distracting to their campaign and talking with voters.
But Dr. Healey adds that she and others are in on-going discussions with Haley about their women-in-government mission. She says anyone interested in government leadership should check out this website.
Healey is a lawyer and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Since leaving office, she has worked on a State Department program to train lawyers in Afghanistan.