So, after a long drive through the Virginia and Carolina mountains in the rain, I got caught in a little Charlotte botheration involving the great big Dem-flavored CarolinaFest, a downpour and a wet, broken down bus. Needed some recovery time after several hours soaked through and sitting on a super-cooled bus. But here’s some flavor of yesterday’s pre-Convention gathering of the New Jersey Delegation:
Best news of the day: Jeff Gardner is elected Whip of the NJ Delegation.
Blue Jersey’s own Loretta Weinberg got sick and tired of all the GOP yammering in Tampa about their mothers:
“Every Republican man who spoke has a mother. And every one of them loved their mother.” [snip]
“If (Romney’s) mother came back today, she would not approve of the Republican Party that he just became a leader of. She was a pro-choice, pro-gun control moderate Republican. Today, known as a Democrat.”
We know, she said, what a Republican governor has done in this state. Taken out every single dollar that was supposed to go to family planning centers – the first governor in the nation where money had been budgeted for family planning centers to set the stage to redline every dollar meant for family planning centers in our state and we’re not going to stand for this anymore.
We talked a lot about training and supporting women candidates (heads-up EMERGE NJ kickoff coming Sept. 27).The Jersey Girls Caucus was actually a lot of fun, with a lot of call-outs to the audience to share information by women leaders and for women’s events. I got called up to talk about Blue Jersey, and used my time to talk about the revelation from Women’s Media Center about how few of the daily newspaper articles about the presidential election are written by women. But you know, we have the same situation at Blue Jersey – Sen. Weinberg & I the lone women in a sea of able men writing here. I got the chance to remind the women in the room that we’re interested in hearing what they’ve got going on, too.
This was after a morning welcome breakfast, the high point of which was a killer speech by Sheila Oliver.
Later on, some of us got the chance to hear a preview of what Cory Booker will say tonight when he presents the Democrats’ national platform at the Convention.
Every morning, the entire delegation breakfasts together in the ballroom. Clattering coffee cups. Ruffling papers (Cory Booker brought copies of the Star-Ledger down by the hundreds yesterday). Appointments being made for off-line convos. Invitations to off-schedule meetings are being slipped under doors. Cell phones on buzz.
And so am I.
Opening statement from the Jersey Girls Caucus is below the fold.
Jersey Girls Caucus
Convened by Loretta Weinberg
In New Jersey, we know what’s at stake in this election. We’ve seen the consequences of elections first- hand, with a Governor who has waged an all-out “War on Women,” through policies and through practices that underline his misogynistic world view. Thankfully, New Jersey has its share of tough, smart, independent-minded women – the “Jersey Girls” that Bruce Springsteen sang about – who will take the fight to the Governor and expose the policies and politics which are meant to harm women.
With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan heading the GOP ticket, Governor Chris Christie’s “War on Women,” is set to gain some powerful allies in the federal government, unless we take them to task, every opportunity we get, for their failures individually and as a party to stand up for women. Whether it’s defunding women’s healthcare in New Jersey, failure to support federal fair wage requirements for women workers, or introducing legislation which would vastly limit, if not outright ban, access to legal birth control, Republicans in New Jersey and around the country clearly have a problem with women.
Here’s what you should know about the Romney-Ryan-Christie record on women:
They would ban abortion, even in cases of incest and rape:
At last week’s Republican National Committee, the party leaders endorsed an extreme platform that would all-but criminalize abortions in the United States, even in cases of rape and incest. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about women needing an abortion as a result of rape or incest – according to Republican Congressman Todd Akin, our bodies have a way to “shut the whole thing down,” but only in cases of “legitimate rape.” And if you think Congressman Akin is at the fringe of his party – he sponsored a “personhood” bill – the “Sanctity of Life Act” – with Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
They do not support equal pay for equal work:
Despite the fact that women only earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, Republicans have consistently failed to stand up for equal pay for equal work legislation. Congressman Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. When asked if he supported the Lilly Ledbetter Act, an aide to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, “We’ll get back to you on that.” The campaign later flip-flopped, saying they wouldn’t seek to overturn any existing fair pay laws, but failing to say whether they would support new laws, like the follow-up to Lilly Ledbetter, the Paycheck Fairness Act – which was stalled in the US Senate by Senate Republicans. Even Governor Christie, in blue New Jersey, has failed to act on a number of pay equity bills that have been sitting on his desk since June. All of this despite the fact that a woman will earn $431,000 less in her lifetime as a result of gender-pay disparity.
They would defund women’s healthcare and repeal Obamacare:
In New Jersey, Governor Christie has already given us a preview of what we can expect from Republican healthcare policy – in his first budget, he defunded grants to women’s health centers and family planning clinics, and has repeatedly vetoed legislation to restore those cuts and leverage a 9-to-1 match in federal funds for Medicaid-eligible women. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made the repeal of Obamacare a priority in their stump speeches at the RNC, despite the fact that the new healthcare reform law provides access to contraceptives, gynecological exams, and cancer screening at no cost to the patient. We cannot afford to go back to the Dark Ages, when being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition.
They will go to any lengths to hide who they really are:
While they’re dismantling the health care safety net for women, banning access to abortions and denying women equal pay for equal work, Republican leaders like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie will say or do anything to hide their true agenda regarding women. Even Ron Reagan, Jr., son of conservative icon President Ronald Reagan, pointed out that we don’t know who the ‘real Mitt Romney’ is. Is he pro-choice or anti-choice? Is he pro-gun control or anti-gun control? Does he believe in humans affecting global warming or not? While Congressman Ryan and Governor Christie have been more overt in their issues with women, Mitt Romney’s constant flip-flopping suggests that conservatives will be in the driving seat when it comes to policies affecting women.
Please join us as we rally the “Jersey Girl” Caucus to get the word out about Republicans, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, and the damage they could do if given a national platform to continue the “War on Women.”