House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi led the call Tuesday night for women across the nation to join President Barack Obama in moving America forward. Pelosi, joined by other Democratic women of the House of Representatives, explained as a mother and grandmother her work is not about the next election, but the next generation.
Kourtney Geers, Special to NJ.com
Women were a reoccurring theme of the first evening of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, woven into everything from speeches about policy to videos about healthcare and equal pay.
The Democratic women of the U.S. House of Representatives took the stage early Tuesday evening in Charlotte, N.C., to rousing applause and made a call to the audience to respond to women's issues in the upcoming election and in the future of American politics.
The Congresswomen addressed reproductive rights, equal pay and abuse, which sparked conversation on social media, including the reactions of political leaders.
Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm showed her support for the women appearing at the convention.
As the evening's events continued, a video on reproductive choice was featured, showing Pres. Barack Obama saying that women are not an interest group and should not be treated as one and that Republicans have focused on "battles that were settled long ago."
National Abortion Rights Action League- Pro-Choice America (NARAL) President Nancy Keenan spoke later, sharing her perspective on the future of women's health if President Obama is not reelected.
Sebelius said, "The good news: Being a mother is no longer a liability, and being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. That's what change looks like."
Continuing the theme, Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, came to the stage to address women's equal pay. After nearly two decades of hard work and the realization she was getting paid less than her male equals, Ledbetter fought for change.
Ledbetter said, "That was the first step but it can't be the last. Because women still earn just 77 cents for every dollar men make."
2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by House WomenThe following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery by House Women at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, September 4, 2012. Good evening.
I'm Nancy Pelosi, but my grandchildren call me Mimi. For me, politics is an extension of my role as a mother and a grandmother. For the Democratic women of the House, our work is not about the next election, but rather the next generation. Working with President Barack Obama, we are committed to reigniting the American dream: the ideal that if you're willing to work hard, play by the rules and take responsibility, you have the opportunity to climb the ladder of success. The Democratic women of the House are ready to join President Barack Obama to move America forward.
I'm Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, and we have work to do. America's women still make just seventy-seven cents for every dollar men earn. It's even tougher for women of color. Those pennies add up to a real difference to middle-class families: trying to pay their bills, trying to get ahead, trying to achieve the American dream. And we are making progress.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to give victims of pay discrimination their day in court, was the first bill President Obama signed into law. Now we want to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act: real protections to ensure equal pay for equal work. The Democratic women of the House are committed to closing the wage gap for American families to move America forward.
I'm Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from the great state of New York. When President Obama made health care a right, not a privilege, for all Americans, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Now women are beginning to get the preventive services—including birth control—that they deserve. If they get sick or pregnant, they won't lose their insurance. And soon, for the first time, no longer will being a woman be a pre-existing medical condition!
Healthy moms mean healthy families. When my Republican colleagues held a hearing about birth control and refused to include a single woman on the first panel as a witness, I asked, "Where are the women?"
Where are the women? The women are here. And we are on our way to re-elect our president. The Democratic women of the House are committed to women's health and to moving America forward.
I'm Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania. Moving America forward means never going backward on America's great promise of health care for our seniors: Medicare. As a daughter who cared for an elderly parent, I know medical care is not optional for seniors. We will not let the Republicans end the guarantee of Medicare, which could cost seniors thousands and endanger the health and retirement security of millions of Americans.
Americans have worked for their Medicare. They have paid for their Medicare. Whether you're 65, 55, 45 or 35, you've earned your Medicare. Americans deserve the security Medicare provides. President Obama will strengthen and protect Medicare. Democrats will make the tough choices—the right choices—to reduce the deficit and to preserve Medicare, for this generation and the next. The Democratic women of the House know that a secure retirement moves America forward.
I'm Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin: mother of three, grandmother of three granddaughters. For our daughters and our granddaughters, I'm working to end violence against women. No victim of domestic violence or bullying—man or woman—should feel unprotected in America. Yet when Democrats acted to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act, Republicans in the House moved to weaken it. In other legislation, they have even tried to change the definition of rape.
Vice President Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act. He, President Obama and Democrats are standing strong to prevent violence for all—whether you were born on a reservation or in another country, whether you love a man or a woman. The Democratic women of the House will fight violence against all Americans to move America forward.
I'm Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. Women in business are helping lead the way for America's economic recovery. Nearly 8 million American women own small businesses—the engines of job creation and the backbone of the American economy. And in these tough economic times, they need a level playing field and a fair shot to get ahead. Supporting small businesses means expanding access to credit and supporting investment that will help them grow.
Working with President Obama, House Democrats gave entrepreneurial Americans the freedom to pursue their passions, success and the American dream. The Democratic women of the House know that when women succeed in our economy, we move America forward.
Aloha. I'm Tulsi Gabbard, candidate for Congress in Hawai'i and captain in the Army National Guard.
When I stepped down from the state legislature and headed to a war zone, I joined a long, proud line of Americans who sacrificed to make us the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As a combat veteran, I know the cost of war. The sacrifices made by our troops and military families are immeasurable. These days, it's often women in uniform —moms, wives, even grandmothers—who deploy and leave their families behind. Such heroes and patriots need and deserve leaders who truly understand and care about their hardships and will fight for them—leaders like President and Michelle Obama, and Vice President and Dr. Biden—the strongest advocates military families could have. The Democratic women of the House will honor the service and sacrifice of our troops to move America forward.
I'm Joyce Beatty, and I'm running for Congress from the great state of Ohio to move America forward. Moving America forward means higher education that's affordable and prepares our young people to lead in the 21st century economy. Moving America forward means affordable health care and equal pay for equal work.
And to unleash the power of moms in the economy, it means quality, affordable child care. We will move America forward on behalf of you: your families and communities, your aspirations and your hopes for your children.
That's because America's success is dependent on the success of women in education, in business, in the military and in public service. Women will lead us to victory—for strong Democratic majorities in Congress, and to re-elect Vice-president Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. The Democratic women of the House are ready to move America forward.