New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley's personal office staff has 23 men and 33 women. The median salary for his female employes is $18,990, while the median salary for his male employes is $16,274. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) had 23 women and 17 men on his personal staff, as of the third quarter of 1985, and the median salary for the male employes was $26,500, compared to the median for women, which was $15,000. Since then, he has appointed three women to top jobs on his staff and to the staff of the Judiciary Committee.
These are among a number of findings contained in a report by the Democratic Task Force of the National Women's Political Caucus, which has reviewed voting records, legislative intiatives, appointments made and salaries paid by candidates who are being discussed as potential Democratic presidential nominees. The task force promises regular updates. The first report, which examines legislative records on the Equal Rights Amendment, feminization of poverty, reproductive choice, discrimination and child care, provides some useful history of what the potential candidates have actually done.
Gov. Bruce Babbitt of Arizona, for example, has made child care "the top priority issue for the 1985-1986 legislative session," according to the report. A legislative package he introduced included incentives to keep children in their own homes rather than in foster care, increase Aid to Families with Dependent Children, expand health care for infants and children and add new day care regulations. He backed flexible benefits packages for state employes and a state child care tax credit for working parents. He created a cabinet-level position, the Office of the Child, which is headed by a woman.
Babbitt has an outstanding record on appointments: there are six women and five men on his executive staff, and the highest paid woman makes $75,000, the third highest salary in the office. The cabinet has six men and six women. When Babbitt first took office in 1978, 5 percent of all appointees to state boards were female; now, 30 percent are. Only two women had been named to the state courts in Arizona before he took office. He has appointed 11 women, including two to the state appeals court.
Bradley got high marks in the report for his record on a woman's right to choose and his support of programs for the poor. He voted against the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction act. The report notes that he was the Democratic leader of the floor fight against limiting foreign aid for family planning and was the chief Democratic sponsor of the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984.
New York, under Gov. Mario Cuomo, did the most extensive comparable-worth study ever of a state work force and was the first state to undertake pay remedies through collective bargaining. Cuomo proposed a bill in the 1986 legislative session requiring all elementary through secondary schools that get state funds to develop programs to ensure equal educational opportunities for both sexes. He set up a state commission on child care; New York is the only state with a network of child care centers for public employes. A quarter of Cuomo's appointments to policy-level positions have been women, as have 10 of his 56 agency heads.
Former Virginia governor Charles S. Robb also had an outstanding record on appointments: 640 women and 300 members of minorities, including the first black to the state Supreme Court. State purchases from firms owned by women and minority members soared from $250,000 in fiscal 1982 to $28 million in fiscal 1985. He supported the largest increase ever provided in Virginia for AFDC recipients.
Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado has 26 women and 24 men on his office staff, with the median salary for women $18,555, while for men it is $18,243. By contrast, Sen. Dale Bumpers of Arkansas has 25 women and nine men on his staff, but the median salary for men is $34,416, while it is $25,000 for women. Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri has eight men, median salary $36,620, and nine women, median salary $17,668. The Rev. Jesse Jackson's National Rainbow Coalition has a staff of 10, according to the report, six of whom are women; one of them holds the top job.
Office staffing patterns and political appointment records are solid indicators of a candidate's commitment to sharing power and here the record is mixed, at best. Standards are being set, however. The caucus' Republican Task Force is preparing a similar report on that party's potential candidates. The prospect of continuing updates might give all manner of encouragement to the hopefuls in both parties to establish better records in these areas. The first report made for revealing reading, indeed.