Fired Arizona official says Gov. Jan Brewer overreacted

PHOENIX - A former Arizona state representative who lost a state job after she questioned female troops' ability to serve in combat because of their menstrual cycle said Gov. Jan Brewer overreacted by requesting her and her supervisor's resignation because of the remarks.

Former Republican Rep. Terri Proud said in a statement late Wednesday that Brewer shouldn't have forced out Joey Strickland as director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services over the controversy.

Strickland submitted his resignation Tuesday after the Brewer administration learned he had hired Proud as an assistant after Brewer told him not to. Brewer learned of Proud's hiring after Proud told the University of Arizona's Arizona-Sonora News Service that menstrual cycles might be too problematic for female troops.

"Women have certain things during the month I'm not sure they should be out there dealing with. I don't know how to address that topic in a very diplomatic manner," Proud told the student news service.

The comment drew rebuke from female veterans' advocates. Proud said her views were not conveyed correctly. She declined to comment Thursday through a spokeswoman.

"If the Governor has it out for me, or has something against former legislators finding jobs, then I was not aware of it until now," Proud said in a statement. "Strickland should not have been removed, Brewer overreacted."

Proud said she only met Brewer once during her one term in the Arizona House.

Brewer spokesman Matt Benson said Proud's comments were indicative of why Brewer told Strickland not to hire her. Veterans Services deputy director Robert Barnes was named interim director until a permanent replacement is found.

Strickland began looking for a new assistant last year to oversee the department's women services. He expressed interest in Proud, who was serving as a state representative at the time, but Brewer said no.

During her brief time in the House, Proud made waves for attacking mandates that employer health plans cover contraception and sponsoring legislation allowing public high schools in Arizona to offer an elective high school course on the Bible. She also opposed the state's redistricting commission.

Strickland was named Veterans Services director in 2008 after his predecessor, Patrick Chorpenning Sr., was forced out amid allegations of neglect and mismanagement. Chorpenning eventually pleaded guilty to conflict of interest and violating procurement laws.

Strickland retired from the U.S. Army in 1994 as a lieutenant colonel. He then was appointed a colonel in the Louisiana National Guard, according to the Veterans Services department's website.

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