Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Swearing-in Ceremony for Barbara E. McConnell as a Member of the Civil Aeronautics Board

September 23, 1983

Our honoree, who is here today, Justice O'Connor, Secretary Dole:

Dan, with your words, you've kind of aroused a lot of déjà vu and so forth. I didn't know about the horse background here— [laughter] —and now winding up with things to do with airplanes makes me think. I was a Reserve officer in the horse cavalry and wound up in World War II flying a desk for the Air Force. [Laughter]

And the whole administration is touched. Tomorrow we'll have a Cabinet Secretary out riding in the rodeo. And when I called him to ask Mac Baldrige to be Secretary of Commerce, I got his wife instead. And she said he couldn't come to the phone; he was in a calf roping contest. [Laughter]

Well, I'd say welcome to the team, but as Dan has indicated, Barbara, you're already a member of the team. As Dan's executive assistant, as he told you, she's been immersed in the work of the Civil Aeronautics Board for over a year.

Barbara, the Board is getting a new member and an experienced hand at the same time, and that's the best kind of appointment to make.

Barbara's appointment brings this CAB back to strength, but it also brings the Board back up to a three-member majority of women. Earlier this week I met with the Executive Women in Government and mentioned that the many talented women in this administration are not getting the public attention they deserve. Some women's groups simply ignore those individuals who are playing important roles throughout the administration. Barbara, as one would expect of an appointment at this level, brings to her job impressive expertise and credentials. And she reflects the large number of women in this administration who are in positions of responsibility because they're highly qualified individuals, not because of some quota system. Much of the negativity we face has less to do with the number of women appointees than it does with the fact that we have a different political philosophy than those who are doing the complaining.

Well, in addition to being professionally qualified, Barbara has been an active Republican for many years and amply reflects the ideals and philosophy of our team. I understand she's been working precincts since she could walk. The outcome of the 1980 election was determined by a basic agreement of the people with the goals that we expressed. And it's important that those filling executive level posts in the departments and agencies agree with why the people sent us here. I know I can count on Barbara to represent us well in the Civil Aeronautics Board and ensure the airline deregulation process is completed and the CAB sunsetted by at least January 1, 1985.

Now, I know that Justice O'Connor is here to do the swearing in, so I know we should move on to the main event—Justice O'Connor and Barbara. But before we do, I just can't resist. The other day out in the Rose Garden I met with the Women Executives in Government, told them a story, and then I met down here in the State Dining Room for a lunch the other day with some American businesswomen, and I told them the same story. And I'm going to tell it to you, just because the occasion gives me an excuse, and I like to tell the story. [Laughter]

Seems there was an accident. The victim was lying out there. A crowd had gathered around. A woman was bending over him, and a man rushed in, pushed her aside and said, "I've had training in first aid; let me at him." And he got down, and she stepped back meekly and stood there. And he did those things that he'd been taught to do. And at one point she tapped him on the shoulder and said, "When you come to the part about sending for the doctor, I'm right here." [Laughter]

Justice O'Connor. Barbara.

Note: The President spoke at 4:52 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. He was introduced by Dan McKinnon, Chairman of the Board.

Following the President's remarks, Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the Supreme Court made brief remarks and administered the oath of office, while Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth H. Dole held the Bible for Ms. McConnell.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a reception was held in the East Room for invited guests.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Swearing-in Ceremony for Barbara E. McConnell as a Member of the Civil Aeronautics Board Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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