An Informed and Comprehensive View
Despite all the gains that have been made to advance women's rights and dignity in recent decades, we still have unfinished business. To the women in our district: I recognize that you are still vastly under-represented in positions of power in our country. You often don't have a seat at the table in deciding the policies that affect your lives: economic policy, healthcare policy, environmental policy, public safety policy, education policy, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and so on. None of these issues are standalone topics. We must recognize the ways they intersect in order to find real solutions to our problems.
I recognize that as a man, I have unearned privileges in our society. If I have the pleasure of serving in Congress, that power needs to be leveraged for good. I pledge to listen to you, the women of our district, and amplify your voices on Capitol Hill. From my time on the campaign trail so far, here are the issues that you've told me are important, and what I plan to do about them.
- Reproductive Justice: A woman's right to make all of her own healthcare decisions has been a constitutionally-protected one for over 40 years. In addition to protecting a woman's right to choose and have control over her own body, I promise to fight for comprehensive reproductive health, access to birth control and preventive care, and to keep vital community healthcare providers such as Planned Parenthood open and well-funded so they can continue serving their communities. Read here about H.R. 771, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act. I would also work to repeal the Hyde Amendment, an initiative you can read about here.
- Family Leave: It is past time for the United States to catch up to the rest of the industrialized world and institute mandatory paid family leave for all new parents. This is an economic injustice that unfairly disadvantages women and sets back family's entire financial futures, with low-wage earners being the most vulnerable. Read here about H.R. 947, the FAMILY Act.
- Equal Pay: The gender-based wage gap, in addition to be fundamentally unjust, also disproportionately hurts working families. Women deserve to be valued for their contributions to their employers in equal measure to the men who work alongside them. We also need to pay attention not only to the women breaking "glass ceilings" but also those who are on "sticky floors," by recognizing that women are over-represented in low-wage, low-advancement-opportunity work. In a country where low wages are much more common for single parents than for other U.S. workers., and where single parents are overwhelmingly women, remedying issues of pay disparity will create financial and social stability for generations to come. Read here about H.R. 1869, the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Ending Violence Against Women: Since the 2016 election season, a wave of women of our country have come forward to resist the admitted sexual predator and serial abuser and denigrator of women who holds the highest office in the land. Sexual misconduct, manipulation, abuse, domestic violence, and rape are inexcusable. For every high-profile case that makes headlines, there are far too many more that we never hear about. We have a responsibility to lift up the voices of those coming forward, and help them find justice, no matter what party affiliation or political ideology the perpetrators hold. Members of Congress must be held to the highest standard and not be complicit in covering up or normalizing this unacceptable behavior. Read here about H.R. 4396, the Me Too Congress Act.
These are just a few of the issues that I've heard when listening to your stories. I always want to know more about what's important to you. Let's keep the dialogue going.
"If there is one message that echoes forth... let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
-Hillary Rodham Clinton, United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, 1995, Beijing, China