When I was 30, I was elected to the House of Delegates. And then at 37, I was elected as Attorney General of Virginia and entered my 8th year of public service. My parents were rural school teachers. My mother taught school because she not only loved helping young people but because her income was an essential part of our family’s finances. They had seen that my sisters and I had gotten a good education. And now I was seeking to live out the other two values that our parents had taught us:work hard and make a difference for others.
That’s what I was attempting to do at the age of 38, when I stepped into the same office that Bob McDonnell just left. That’s what I was doing when he wrote his thesis about women in the workforce. I wonder now what he thought then of women in elective office.
I invite you to think for a moment–think back over the years.
Did you support child care programs because they subsidized and encouraged the trend of working women and “feminists?” Or, did you support child care programs because children, especially children at risk, needed support while one or more parents were doing the best they could to put food on the table.
Did you believe that families were in danger because more and more families had two parents that worked? Or, did you lament the fact that most often two parents had to work to make ends meet for their children?
If you are a working woman, did you enter the workforce because you wanted to “break . . . perceived stereotypical role bonds and seek workplace equality and self-actualization?” Or, did you work because you needed to or wanted to and in the process often found yourself required to “break. . . perceived stereotypical role bonds . . .”
Did you believe that the participation of women in the work force was a symptom of the breakdown of society? Were you or are you a woman who has worked because you are one of those “materialistic” women?
While I cannot answer these questions for every Virginian, I can certainly answer for myself.
Bob McDonnell-married and the father of two children-sat down at the age of 34 to express these views about what needed to change to get society back on track. His focal point was women and their role in the home as opposed to the workplace. Beyond that he imputes ill motives to those women who either needed to work or chose to work, and he questions the motives of those who have supported child care over the years.
Bob McDonnell now seeks to distance himself from these beliefs just as he has sought in this race for Governor to distance himself from his record. The reality is that his record as a lawmaker and Attorney General has reflected a world view espoused and written by him in his own words.
I do not share Bob McDonnell’s beliefs about what ails our society. And, while I like Bob personally my respect for him ends when he attempts to walk away from the beliefs and world view that have animated his life and been the focal point of his work as a legislator and Attorney General.
Virginians deserve to know the truth-as we say in the law-the whole truth. And so I ask you to read Bob McDonnell’s thesis here and judge for yourself.
And if you agree that Virginians deserve better, like so many of us do, please click to join Women for Deeds.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
Mary Sue Terry