Letter: Comment Was An Insult To All Women

This weekend, I read an article about the Palm Beach County Commission race in District 6 where candidate Kathy Foster said: “Melissa is a very nice girl, but she’s a secretary…”

Are you kidding me? As an elected woman in District 6, I think Ms. Foster’s disparaging comments regarding a strong woman in the workplace brings us back to a time long ago that our fellow equal rights advocates have worked long and hard to put behind us. To label a modern-day professional woman who works hard every day on behalf of our citizens as a “nice girl” and just “a secretary” is the height of arrogance by Ms. Foster. More importantly, Ms. Foster’s comments show a complete disconnect with the gains women have made in our society since Ms. Foster served 20 years ago. Shame on you, Kathy Foster. You owe Melissa McKinlay and all women an apology.

Melissa McKinlay is a 43-year-old woman and single mother of three teenagers who understands what life is like in the real world far better than her opponent. She is a legislative aide, but she took no offense to being called a secretary, and rightfully so. Look at the statistics. According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, approximately 96 percent of secretaries and administrative assistants in the U.S. are female, making it the top job for women. Some of the world’s most successful women started as secretaries, like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

I also applaud Melissa for responding to the Post’s questions by recognizing the thousands of behind-the-scenes public employees who do the work they do to help our elected officials be able to do their job!

Melissa is a team player. She doesn’t care about labels. Isn’t that what we need in District 6? Melissa is a person who supports women across all walks of life. She celebrates the unique talents of all and their ability to contribute to their communities to make a difference. We need her on the Palm Beach County Commission.

Let’s send a strong message that anti-woman insults don’t belong in elected office! Let’s start by sending a strong advocate for every woman, man and child to our county commission.

Michelle Damone, Supervisor, Indian Trail Improvement District


  1. Melissa McKinlay has never held elective office, has limited educational background and has only lived in the western communities a few short years.

    The western communities needs a truly experienced person who can handle the heavy duty concerns out west.

    Perhaps, Ms McKinlay should run for office in a local municipality before she tries to run a very complex western district.

    We, in the western communities, need someone well equipped and ready to fight for us, not someone who has been in the periphery of decision making and will be beholden to various groups that have pushed her candidacy.

    Kathy Foster and Michelle Santamaria are the true committed western candidates. They know the terrain and have not hopscotched about the county or state as Melissa McKinlay.

  2. Whinning. Be a strong woman and tell us your platform – everyone is STILL waiting to hear. Shame on you, Michelle, I have lost respect for you.

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