Columnist: Is Conservative Orange County Ready for Woman Sheriff?


Los Angeles Times columnist Dana Parsons writes, “Is there any chance in the world that Orange County’s next sheriff will be a woman? Just doesn’t sound right, does it, for this traditionally conservative, good-ol’-boys county government? Let’s just say the airport wasn’t named after John Wayne by pulling a name out of a hat. But here Sandra Hutchens is, one of two candidates still standing, and needing only three votes — not tens of thousands — to get the job.”

Hutchens has had a 29-year career with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Of the 3,084 sheriffs in the United States, only 42 are women, says Fred Wilson, director of operations for the National Sheriffs’ Assn. And that number is nearly twice what it was just seven years ago, he says. Parsons writes, “The reasons for the small numbers aren’t mysterious. In a historically male-dominated profession, women didn’t rise to the upper ranks of sheriff’s departments from which they could legitimately make a run at the top spot.”


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