CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The panel discussion was about how to get more women to run for public office. At the end, a middle-aged woman in the audience rose to ask a question. It was Cathy Malloy, the first lady of Connecticut, and she had something to get off her chest.
She was earthy and funny and clearly aggrieved.
“One of the things about public life, whether you are Republican or Democrat, is that people do not appreciate people in public life like they should,” Malloy said. “Americans eat their politicians up every day. And this is a huge problem. Not only do we get beat up, our children get beat up. And it’s tough business, a really tough business, for people that want to get in public life.”
The panel discussion, held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention here, was sponsored by Emily’s List, a group that supports female office-seekers who support abortion rights.
She was upset, Malloy said, because the day after she received a major national award for her work with rape victims, she was pulled over by police and ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. Of course, her ticket made the news. The state was in the midst of a “click it or ticket” campaign, and the irony was too delicious for the media to ignore.