Our nation’s women have fought to open the doors of opportunity for themselves in numerous ways. They have championed fair credit, tougher child support enforcement, protection for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, equitable pay, and more secure retirement income. I am proud to serve with a record number of Congresswomen who recognize there is more work to be done in order to ensure equal opportunity for every woman, regardless of race, religion, disability, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation.
Women often face higher healthcare costs than men and extra barriers to obtain affordable health insurance. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act ends gender discrimination, expands access, and makes health care affordable - rights belonging to all women in America.
Over the last few years, the House of Representatives voted multiple times to limit a woman’s right to pick her doctor, defund Planned Parenthood, and restrict women’s access to abortion services. As a longtime supporter of the right for women to make their own healthcare decisions, I voted against these misguided and dangerous pieces of legislation.
The Supreme Court recently ruled to protect access to abortion services in Wisconsin. I am proud that this decision upholds the constitutional right of women to decide what healthcare choices best fit their needs. I will continue to support Title X funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) and vote against attacks on women’s rights guaranteed under the Constitution. I am proud to be a federal Planned Parenthood champion.
I was proud to co-sponsor the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which took effect in March of 2015. We absolutely cannot sit back and watch these long-standing, important protections for victims of domestic violence and assault disappear. As a former prosecutor, I know how important it is to maintain these protections. We must ensure safety measures are in place, and resources are available for the security of everyone in our communities.
Since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the wage gap between men and women has narrowed, but women still make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. This is unacceptable. That is why I have consistently supported legislation that attempts to close this wage gap, including co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to amend the Equal Rights Act to prohibit against gender discrimination in employment and the payment of wages.
At a time when we are witnessing an increase in divisive and dangerous actions from leaders trying to take away LGBT rights, I want to assure you that I am more dedicated than ever to protecting the fundamental rights of all Wisconsinites.
No matter what your sexual orientation, gender, or race are in the United States, every individual is guaranteed the same fundamental rights. I was proud to sponsor the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act to make sure that married LGBT couples can receive the same Social Security benefits as other married couples. I am also a proud co-sponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2015, which prohibits excluding or discrimination against public school students from any federal educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates.
Wisconsin has a long history of defending every individual’s constitutional right to vote. Unfortunately, in recent years our state government has systematically attacked voting rights for the veterans, seniors, minorities, students and disabled people. That is not the Wisconsin Way. I have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to begin an investigation to determine whether the voter id legislation was designed to intentionally subvert constitutional rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. It is imperative that all U.S. citizens are able to participate in the political process by casting their ballot at the polls.
The attacks on voting rights and equal rights of Wisconsin workers have been faced with an assault on their right to bargain. Wisconsin workers are the backbone of our local economy, and we must put an end to the continued attacks on their right to collectively bargain and earn a fair wage. I am working hard to make sure that Wisconsin workers get paid a fair wage, have good working conditions, and have the ability to negotiate.
I have and will continuing to standup and fight to make sure Wisconsinites have the basic rights they are entitled to.