Perry team includes few women and minority staffers
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 5:33 am
Women and minorities are under-represented in the nearly 6,000 appointments Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made in his decade in office, according to the Abilene Reporter-News, failing to keep up with Texas’ shifting demographics and appointing women at a lower rate than the two governors before him.
Perry has taken renewed criticism on the campaign trail for offering so many appointments to friends and donors, and as the Texas Independent has reported, his appointees to the University of Texas and Texas A&M University System Boards of Regents are less-educated than their peers across the country.
A look at the sex and racial makeup of Perry’s appointments, though, offers new room for criticism:
Perry, who’s been the Texas governor for more than a decade, had made 5,741 total appointments by Sept. 20, according to figures provided by his state office that day. Of those, 36.3 percent were women, 14.7 percent were Latino and 9 percent were black.
That’s not at parity with Texas’ population. Women make up 50 percent of the state’s population, Latinos make up 38 percent and blacks make up 12 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
As the paper points out, Perry has appointed women at a slightly lower rates than George W. Bush, and far less than Ann Richards before him.
From 1991 to 1995, 18 percent of Richards’ appointments went to Latino officials, at a time when the proportion of Latinos in Texas was even lower. Richards’ appointments also included 41 percent women, according to the Reporter-News.
As the Texas Independent has been following, Perry oversaw huge cuts to women’s health care in the budget passed this year.
And while Perry touted his record of minority appointments at a National Association of Latino Elected Officials convention in June — “appointing the first Hispanic women to serve as secretary of state and to both of the state’s highest courts,” according to the Associated Press — he got a cool reception there.
The Reporter-News said parity in political appointments isn’t the very most pressing issue for minority advocacy groups:
The League of United Latin American Citizens looks at whether Hispanic appointees hold significant power, said Linda Chavez, deputy state director for LULAC.
“We look at key positions,” Chavez said. “Positions that are going to matter to the Hispanic community.”
This year, concern over minority appointees takes a back seat to LULAC’s worries about Perry’s cuts to education by $4 billion; his unsuccessful attempt to pass legislation banning sanctuary cities; and his approval of a voter identification law, Chavez said.