Hooper: Gov. Scott, tell women to lean in, ask for Rashid's resignation

Published Sep. 6, 2015

This is the moment Gov. Rick Scott can send a message to the rising number of female executives and entrepreneurs.

As much as he works to make Florida a welcoming state for business, he can't pass on this opportunity to show it's welcoming for men and women.

The jobs governor must do his job and ask Sam Rashid to resign his position as a board member on the Hillsborough Aviation Authority. After calling female public relations consultant Beth Leytham a "tax-payer subsidized slut" in a Facebook post, Rashid has said he would resign if the governor asked.

Labor Day would be the perfect time for Scott to tell women he won't accept their hard labor being smeared with gender-based attacks. In this state, we want women to lean in.

Rashid, a well-heeled political power broker, opposes the county's latest transportation effort, Go Hillsborough. But instead of challenging the process he attacked one of the principals.

Such behavior could become more commonplace if allowed to stand. Any women hoping to solve a pressing problem or engage in a public issue would have to wonder if opponents would use a similar approach.

How can we advance any idea in such an atmosphere?

Rashid is known for sharply worded rebukes, but the rules are different when you hold a political appointment. Hundreds of female employees at Tampa International Airport now know one of its leaders is comfortable publicly shaming women.

Local leaders, especially women, should push Scott to do the right thing. We no longer accept racist and homophobic attacks, and it shouldn't be any different for women. Not in 2015.

That's all I'm saying.