President Obama has come under fire for the lack of women in his inner circle and his new cabinet. But Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow expressed confidence Tuesday on Andrea Mitchell Reports that the president’s second term cabinet will meet the gender diversity standards set by his first.
Obviously, I’m very supportive of having women in every possible position, high ranking position in our–our government. I want to commend the president on his first term. And he did have two openings to the United States Supreme Court. He filled both of them with highly qualified women and had a really outstanding cabinet. So I’m going to reserve my judgment until all of the appointments are made. But I’m going to continue to urge that women–our voices, our experiences–are in key places throughout the government. And certainly that has been the case in the first four years. And I’m confident that as things unfold, it will be the case in the second four years.
In response to a question Monday about the lack of diversity in his first four second-term Cabinet appointees, President Obama touted the accomplishments of high-ranking women in his first administration. “If you think about my first four years, the person who probably had the most influence on my foreign policy was a woman. The people who were in charge of moving forward my most important domestic initiative, health care, were women. The person in charge of our homeland security was a woman. My two appointments to the Supreme Court were women. And 50% of my White House staff were women. So I think people should expect that that record will be built on during the next four years.”
Obama’s choices for leaders of the departments of State, Defense, Treasury and the C.I.A.–John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Jack Lew and John Brennan, respectively–are expected to be confirmed by the Senate in the next few weeks. Obama will have the opportunity to name a new Labor Secretary to replace Hilda Solis as well as a new EPA Administrator to replace Lisa Jackson. A few female leaders will remain, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.