Being There Matters—Redefining the Model Public Servant: Viola O. Baskerville in Profile


Janet R. Hutchinson is an associate professor and coordinator of the public administration program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she is codirector of the Virginia Family Impact Seminars. Her research and publications focus on child and family policy and theories of feminisms, particularly as they apply to the field of public administration. She also has a research interest in the sociology of knowledge use. She teaches courses in research, feminist methodology, and women and family policy and is affiliated with the women’s studies program at Virginia Commonwealth.

Deirdre M. Condit is an associate professor of political science in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests in feminist political theory and ethics encompass issues of gender within electoral politics, the politics of reproductive technologies, and maternal theory and public policy. Her recent publications include an article on androgenesis in a forthcoming collection titled Twenty-First Century Motherhood, an essay on Sara Ruddick’s contribution to political thought, and many journal articles.


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A descendent of slaves and a woman of proud but humble origins, Viola Osborne Baskerville has ascended to prominence in Virginia public life. As only the second African American woman to serve as secretary of administration, her appointment to the cabinet of Governor Tim Kaine has afforded her the opportunity to affect the policy areas that have long been her passion. Baskerville is known as a leader with integrity, as a dedicated public servant, and as a tireless advocate for policies that affect the promise and well-being of women and children, families, and minorities, particularly those who have suffered from poverty and discrimination. Baskerville, a trailblazing African American woman, embodies a new model of the public servant.