Local Politics

In Harris' husband, men have an example of working the support role

Posted November 11, 2020 4:33 p.m. EST
Updated November 11, 2020 6:36 p.m. EST

For the first time in United States history, the spouse of the vice president-elect is a "second gentleman" instead of the "second lady."

Doug Emhoff has said he would quit his job as a lawyer to support his wife, a decision that makes sense to the spouse of another high-profile government leader, Anna Stein.

Stein's husband, Josh Stein, is attorney general for the State of North Carolina. She said being the spouse of an elected official is a job in itself.

"It's never ending. It never stops, every day," she said. "It is rewarding to see your spouse doing good stuff, so I definitely feel like it's a public service to support your spouse."

Raleigh resident Charlie Detelich said Emhoff's move is only right.

"How many women have to quit their jobs to support their husbands? So it's just really nice to see a man doing that for his wife," she said.

Anna Stein agreed.

"I think that's fantastic that a man is going to be so supportive of his wife's career and quit his job, so I'm in favor of that," she said.

Jocelyn Olcott, a professor in the departments of History, International Comparative Studies, and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Duke University, said, "I think it's actually a great message that it's sending. I think he's doing what a lot of men are already doing, supporting their very successful partners. It's something he's been doing for Kamala Harris her whole career, which I think is really impressive."

Olcott said she'd be watching to see what issue Emhoff decides to champion in his new role.

"I think it will be interesting to see what he does with that position. As you know, it's always been somewhat ceremonial but also with some type of agenda," she said.

Anna Stein is looking even further ahead.

"I hope this is a precursor to the first gentleman in the White House," she said.

Emhoff will also make history as the first Jewish spouse of a vice president or president of the United States.

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