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Democrat women highlight ‘Romneysia,’ equal pay issues

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – President Barack Obama has a history of understanding the plight of women in the U.S., while his Republican opponent does not, said the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during a stop here on Monday.

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the EPA, spoke to approximately 70 people at the Democratic Party headquarters Monday afternoon.

She and her companions were barnstorming across Colorado in an RV, on what Jackson called “this little women’s tour of the state,” campaigning for the president with just two weeks to go before Election Day.



Jackson was traveling with Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Stephanie Schriock, president of the political group Emily’s List on the “Women Decide 2012” tour.

Jackson said President Obama scored a “decisive victory” with his debate performance on Oct. 16, the second of three presidential debates with Republican nominee Mitt Romney.



That debate “also crystallized a pretty clear vision about women in this country,” on the part of both candidates, she said.

She said the president understands the inequity of women’s earning power compared to that of men, noting that women earn 70 cents on the dollar compared to men doing the same job. Over a lifetime of work, that translates to $430,000.

Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 in his first official act as president, Jackson said.

“Women, we are not a special interest group. We are an essential part of the plan to grow the country from the middle out,” she told the audience.

Schriock said Romney “has no vision for the women of today. I mean, he does have some binders,” getting a general laugh from the gathering.

Romney, during the second debate, revealed that as governor of Massachusetts, he knew of no women to put in his cabinet. His only method of finding qualified women, he admitted, was by collecting resumes in a loose-leaf binder.

Schriock congratulated the assembled Democrats and Colorado as a whole for being No. 1 in the percentage of women serving in the state Legislature.

Seconding Jackson’s worries about a Romney presidency, Schriock said, “We are up against a Republican Party that is looking to turn us so far backward, I don’t think we’ll recognize the day, back to the 1950s.”

Noting Monday’s good weather, she urged all within earshot to go out and vote while the weather holds, and to urge others to do the same.

Stealing a line from Obama, Sebelius accused Romney of having suffered from a severe attack of “Romneysia” concerning the health care plan that he enacted as governor of Massachusetts. Romney’s health care reform was very similar to Obama’s Affordable Care Act, derisively renamed Obamacare by Republicans.

Now, distancing himself from his own health care reform, Romney has reversed course, said Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas.

“He has a plan that insurance companies would be back in charge of who gets coverage and who doesn’t,” she said. That would have a negative effect on women’s health care, she said.

Obama, she maintained, “doesn’t believe that being a woman is a pre-existing condition.”

Turning to the need to get out the vote, Sebelius told the crowd, “We’re here to say, ‘Thank you, but roll up your sleeves and get to work.’ There’s plenty of time to sleep after Nov. 6.”

After the three women finished, Carbondale field organizer Keelin Kelly urged those present to vote and to work for the campaign to make sure others vote, as well.

Dorothea Farris, a former Pitkin County commissioner who attended the event, said Schriock’s remarks were on the mark.

“When she talks about Romney trying to take us back to the ’50s, she’s not kidding,” Farris said. She recalled that when she was a school teacher in Washington state in 1956, she earned $3,000 a year, while a man doing the same work earned $4,000.

“I asked, ‘Why?’ and they told me, ‘Well, he’s the head of his family.’ And I said, ‘He’s single, I’m single. There’s no difference,'” Farris said.

The school officials could not come up with an argument, she said, “and the next year, it was changed.”

But Romney, she said, would undo that change if he could.

The “Women Decide 2012” tour started in Grand Junction Monday morning, made stops in Glenwood Springs and Silverthorne during the day, and ended the day with debate watch parties in Evergreen and Lakewood.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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