August 13, 2015

Walker backward on women’s issues

By Sen. Lena Taylor

It’s hard to fake your way through an entire presidential campaign.

I think America is about to learn what women in Wisconsin already know; Scott Walker’s policies are wrong for women and our families.

Did you notice Walker remained noticeably silent during and after the Presidential debate exchange between Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly? When Kelly asked Trump about his demeaning language towards women. Trump laughed it off while making a joke about Rosie O’Donnell. He later sent a disparaging tweet about Megan Kelly and followed it up in an interview by saying Kelly was “…bleeding from wherever.”

Trump’s series of inarticulate and inappropriate comments put the spotlight on Walker. The morning after the debate, a CBS This Morning headline read, “No criticism of Trump’s ‘fat pigs’ comment from Walker.” But, after his handlers got ahold of him, Walker changed his tune, jumping on the bandwagon criticizing Trump for his comments about Megyn Kelly. But what about Walker’s own record when it comes to women?

It angers me that in 2015, we are still fighting for access to reproductive healthcare. The minute Walker was sworn in, the fight was on. It didn’t take him long to cut more than $1 million from Planned Parenthood, causing 5 clinics that didn’t even perform abortions to close their doors. Then, in 2013 he signed a law forcing women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion and requiring providers to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles, a law that has been tied up in court and is likely illegal. Walker also recently signed a ban on abortions after 20-weeks, which is already a rare procedure. The law doesn’t afford an exception in the cases of rape or incest.

In an effort to be even more extreme, Walker repealed Wisconsin’s Pay Equity law. Women in Wisconsin receive about 75 cents for every one dollar a man makes according to the Wisconsin Institute for Women’s Health. He was even quoted in The New Yorker as saying,  “In Wisconsin, I used my power as governor to repeal a law supporting equal pay for women.” There you have it. Not only did our governor repeal our equal pay law, he’s bragging about it too. 

About the only thing Walker is right about is that “women’s issues” are about more than just women. We care about our families and our community too. However, one of Walker’s main examples of how he’s helped women is the fact he froze tuition. It’s a great talking point. What he doesn’t mention is his $250 million cut to the UW System. And that’s just for those students old enough to be in college. Those still struggling to make it through our public school system were subjected to Walker’s largest cut to public education in Wisconsin history. If anything, Scott Walker is America’s most notorious anti-education Governor.

When Governor Walker refused to raise the minimum wage, he impacted women and our families. In fact, women are more likely to hold low wage jobs than men. Throughout the nation, women make up two-thirds of all our low wage workers in industries like fast food, home health care, child care and retail. Did you know that Wisconsin women are more than twice as likely to hold a job that pays less than $10.10 per hour? And what about working women making a family-supporting wage? Walker’s policies impact them too. You might not think that Scott Walker’s union busting policies matter much to women. But, did you know that more than half of our public sector union workers are women?

I could go on and on. Women are less likely than men to have a valid photo ID for voting. Even Walker’s drug testing policies will disproportionately impact women, as women are twice as likely as men to rely on food stamps at some point in their lives.

Our state’s motto is “forward.” Yet, Governor Scott Walker’s policies seem to be backward for women and our families. Women are backbone of Wisconsin. After all, the statue on the top of the Wisconsin State Capitol is that of a woman named “Wisconsin.” In due time America will learn what Wisconsin women already know, Governor Scott Walker’s policies don’t move our families forward.