But right now the politicians in power at both the state level and in Congress just won’t stand up for these issues. Instead, they are dismantling services. Defunding public education. Bankrupting public resources by cutting taxes for the rich and limiting how much cities and towns can collect. Limiting our right to vote. Making it harder for all of us to thrive in North Carolina. They just have the wrong priorities. And we have to change that.
That’s what the Women’s Summit that the Hagan Campaign held earlier this month in Greensboro was about: inspiring us to do everything we can to get out the women’s vote for Kay so that we can keep the U.S. Senate Democratic (and she may very well be the 50th Senator we need), and along the way, sweep into office as many other women and strong Democratic candidates as we can.
State Auditor Beth Wood was our dynamic MC – keeping the program moving quickly and keeping us all focused on the stakes in this election. There were fabulous speeches, from Kay herself, from former Congresswoman Eva Clayton, from Mark Jewell, Vice President of the NC Association of Education, from current Wilmington State Representative Susi Hamilton, and from Janet Colm, President of Planned Parenthood.
While I expected inspiring campaign speeches, every speaker there made sure that they not only inspired us but they gave us the facts and figures we needed to make our case and get women out to vote.
Sadie Weiner, Kay’s Communication Director, and Molly Murphy, from her polling team, double-teamed to give us the information we need to be persuasive with both Democratic and Independent women and help get them out to vote.
- Did you know that 61% of women believe that income inequality undermines opportunity?
- And 55% of women believe that North Carolina is going in the wrong direction. That the policies of this Governor and this General Assembly are making it harder to survive. Women want policies – including economic policies -- to be fairer for everyone.
- 66% believe that women still have a harder time making it in the workplace then men. And almost as many – 63% -- support a paycheck fairness act and would make it a strong factor in their vote.
- And there is extraordinary unanimity on the need for more funding for public education. People know that public education for all is guaranteed in the North Carolina constitution. And 81% of women believe that North Carolina public schools need more money.
That explains why the Tillis Campaign is running those ads proclaiming that he and the Governor produced the highest raises ever for teachers. Thank goodness we had Mark Jewell there to give us the facts that contradict his statements:
- The much vaunted 7% raise for teachers actually takes away an already earned benefit -- longevity pay -- and redistributes it, so that our most committed teachers end up with less than a 1% pay raise.
- The GA cut $76 million dollars from the school text book fund last year, $45 million from school supplies, $6 million from school transportation, and $3 million from ESL programs, and of course $10 million for the voucher program, still being contested.
- And that’s not even addressing the elimination of 6000 teachers and 3300 teacher assistants over the past year through budget cuts at a time when the number of students to be served is increasing!
Their idea is to transfer all education funding back to the counties, in the name of local control. But this just makes education more unequal, by putting all of the weight for funding on property taxes. Rich communities get better schools; poor communities, poorer schools.
We need to be sure to get the truth out.
Here are some messages the Hagan Campaign shared that help get the facts out:
About Kay Hagan: She puts NC first and fights for working people
- Kay helped bring more than eight hundred million dollars for public schools in NC
- Kay supports a minimum wage and is working for a fairer economy for the middle class by asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share, and ending tax breaks for companies who outsource
- Kay will protect guaranteed Social Security and Medicare benefits
- Kay believes that politicians have no business meddling in a woman’s personal health decision, and will protect a woman’s access to birth control
- Kay will fight to ensure that women are paid equal to men for equal work
And About Tom Tillis: He has the wrong priorities for North Carolina
- Tillis cut five hundred million dollars from education to pay for a billion dollars in tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy
- Tillis defunded Planned Parenthood, which eliminate funding for lifesaving preventive care like breast exams and cancer screenings
- Tillis opposes laws that would make sure women get paid the same as men for doing the same work and killed a bill in the state House last year that would have protected equal pay
- Tillis opposes raising the minimum wage, calling it a “dangerous idea”
- Tillis would end Medicare as we know it, replacing seniors’ guaranteed benefits with a voucher system that could increase premiums and force them to the private market
These stark contrasts between what Kay Hagan stands for and what Tom Tillis stands for will resonate with women. They underline how important it is that women go to the polls and votes this year. So much of what we want for our families and our communities are at stake in this election.
So let’s get the word out. Share these messages in your Power of the Pen letters. Use them when you go canvassing for Kay or Planned Parenthood, like I did last weekend. And when you talk to neighbors and colleagues and friends.
Let’s do everything we can to get the vote out. And to get our friends and colleagues to work with us to get the vote out. The stakes are that high. We need to Turn NC Blue this year.