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Joint | August 26, 2015 | Press Room | Press Conference: Rep. Harrison

Full MP3 Audio File

[xx] Good morning. Can you hear me? Is the microphone on? Can you hear me? Okay. I want to say goodmorning to everyone. Goodmorning! Goodmorning! We're ready to start and this is a standing with women and families press conference, in the North Carolina General Assembly, and I want to welcome all of you here. We genuinely appreciate your support and we're going to have detailed extensive agenda important to te State of North Carolina so we're going to have [xx] state director are working with families, which is an affiliate of AFLCIO. Caroline would you come forward please. Good morning. Morning Today is the 95th birthday at the signing of the 19th amendment guaranteeing the men the right to vote that was in 1920. Here we're in 2015, 95 years later, still fighting for voting rights, and also for equal pay for women, now all this should be celebrating women right to vote, we should be supporting power that help uplift women and family. Today we're now seeing our stand with women and families are get out of the way campaign. The focus of the campaign is to highlight a platform, around pay equity, we protect justice, quality health care for all. So we're asking our elected officials to stand with women and families, by signing on to support our platform. And for those that don't sign on our platform. We are asking you to get out of our way, by allowing bills out of the committee and now to the floor that will vote, that prevents, that protects workerd so we're asking you if you stand with use, please get out of my way, so we're here today for two purposes. One to sign up a platform and also we're having a big matching in Rarry and Rulham on Friday thank you. Thank you Carlo. Stand with women and families force then in the Wake. So we are saying in other words get out of the way. We have some good speakers for you this morning to talk about women and families issues and we're going to start with Representative Susan Fisher, Representative Fisher is from Ashfield North Carolina and see the deputy house democratic leader. Representative Fisher. Thank you representative former Better Fill and thank you all for being here and showing your interest and support in what is happening today. Senator Wendy Davis was in the triangle last night to talk about her experience of the 13 hour philabaster[sp?] in the Texas Senate to stop the damage being done to women's reproductive health care in some of the reasons are allowed into our rules or I suspect we just found several instances where it might have been unemployed during this long session. We're here today to bring attention to the fact that our efforts to provide equal opportunity to women in 2015 continue to be supported by those in the majority who allow women to be used as political pawns to accomplish an agenda of any cloudy there've been bills filed by many of us here. To increase the minimum wage. To protect caregivers from loosing their jobs while seeing into the immediate needs of family member, to protect pregnant women in the work place and these bills sit in the committees where republican chairs some of whom're women themselves refuse to hear them well today on this women's equality day. A day that commemorates on efforts 95 years ago of so many to seal in to seal very all right to vote within the 19th amendment to the constitution. I call on all women to as Senator Davis put it last night so as eloquently walk in the shoes of those women who still struggle everyday to get health care who work too tip to minimum wage jobs at $2.13 cents an hour just to get through school so that they can care for loved ones and bring their daughters better chances to succeed. We are all daughters in this continuing struggle for equality and my colleagues here today will bring to light the many unaddressed needs of women during this legislative session. Thank you.

I would be remiss if I didn't introduce our House leader, the Democratic leader, Representative Larry Hall from Durham. Glad you're here. We also have Representative Shelly Willingham, Rocky Mount, glad you're here, Representative Evan Hollen [xx] met representative Susan Fisher, Senator Gladys Robinson and Representative Rosa Gill. Did I leave any representatives out? Support women have in the General Assembly. They're awesome. Senator Angela Bryant, I don't believe is here so we're going to move to Representative Bobby Richardson, House Democratic Caucus Good morning. My name is Bobby Richardson and I serve district 7 which includes a portion of Franklin and Nash County. As you've heard here August is a historical month for the rights of women. We moved beyond not being able to vote to moving into being voters. So I'm here today to remind the North Carolina General Assembly and voters that for the last legislative sessions we have passed laws that are beginning to erode the rights of women women comprise 58.8% of the total population of more than 380 million people. According to the US population women health US in 2012, study show that nearly 9 and 10 poor adults are women, putting six of ten children in poverty. In North Carolina alone, two thirds of minimum wager earners are women living on a 7.75% for hour wage, and as Representative Fisher already said many of our women are working for cheap jobs which earns $2 through 13 cents an hour. Legislation had taken away from many of the public insurance and safety programs that are choices for women security. Such things as social security, income, unemployment reduced health care choices also the ability to claim your medical expenses of do your taxes. So we need to look at those issues, and we need to put those safety programs back in place, because women comprise so much of our population if women are not thriving economically, then it will be a drain on our revenue. Single women 25 to 64 years of age, or about 60% or more, that are likely to like health insurance, single women are four times more likely to be on medicaid. So my message to women and all voters is that we need to elect people who're going to vote for the rights and economic justice of women all everywhere. Thank you. Thank you Representative Harrison. I may think of this [xx] install, investment install will be followed by representative [xx] Good morning, as representative Richardson has said  economic inequality is one of the greatest barriers to women. If women made enough money to support themselves they could live a violent relationship, they could support their children, they could get many benefits from being able to support themselves. We don't take poverty nearly seriously enough in this country or in this state. We talk a really good line, but our actions give lie to our words, and especially this session, I think of this cycle we've seen jobs not being brought to North Carolina, even the governor's new the economic development commission that was put in the private sector is complaining that we're not supporting their efforts enough and that we're losing jobs. Good jobs that would help provide middle wage incomes to men and women are going to other states. If women, so there are two ways of addressing that, one is equal pay for equal where one is to raise the minimum wage. Representative Pricey here Representative Becky Carin Representative Raley of Howle introduced thew [xx] this year and was send immediately to the rules committee there and  is says so I just want to go with living wage a minimal wage here in North Carolina is $7.25 an hour so what do you need to be able do the support your family.

In Orange county North Carolina where I live. One adult living a wage for one adult is $10.68 an hour for two adults with one working is $17.59 an hour. This is based on food childcare medical expenses, housing, typical of basic expenses that a family has the lowest rate that I found was $15 an hour of living wage of $15 an hour so we need to fight the bullet and get these bills out of committee address these issues of minimum wage in North Carolina and also if equal pay fees will work, thank you. Representative Insko is House Democratic Minority Whip and now we're going to have Representative Carlo Cunningham. She's the chair of the House Democratic Women's issues working with. Good morning? "Morning. " Before I begin I would like to thank all of my colleagues for being present this morning for this special occasion additionally I would like to also acknowledge the women Africa groups and partnering organisations that keep the fire burning when the flames dim. Today we celebrate an historic achievement for women that occurred 95 years ago when women were granteed the right to vote became part of the United State constitution, granted this is worth a grand celebration, whoever we must ask ourselves why we still face numerous issues of ecconomic inequalities that continue to exist in the lives of many women across this country and our state such a low wages and equal pay. I as a woman understand that plight and like many of you that fill this room I have faced some of this issues myself That is why my colleagues and I introduced several bills this session. House bill 166, the equal rights amendment. House bill 868 to up the memo bill, and House Bills 578 Families Economic Security Acts, all this bills where introduced never heard, not even in committee, this bills address women strikes and well as women's and families economic security House Bill 868 up to minimum wage set rate [xx] an acts to increase minimal wage rate and to automatically adjust to reflect increase in the cost of living, a raise in minimal wage would dis-proportionally affect women as well as benefit minority and non minority workers. Minimum wage increases took place in 13 States and four cities but North Carolina remains at a stand still at $7 and 25 cents an hour. House bills an Act to ensure that employees in the state are paid the same wages in the same establishment by the same quality and of the same classification [xx] sample fairness, as you can see our work is not complete, we must continue to work in out communities for true equality to become a reality, our work is not done until we see equality for women in North Carolina, this is the day I hope to celebrate, thank you. [xx] good morning everyone? Good Morning! I'm sure that some major issues have all been covered but it's important to note that also on the we introduced a package of legislation that would address women's issues, the care giver relief arc which would allow for the care giving roles that women are predominantly have in the culture for family and children, it would we have extended the FMLA - the Family Medical Leave Act to other categories of family members which impact women grandparents and other categories of family members beyond what the Our bill would allow at the state level. Also paid sick leave which I'm sure has been mentioned here, I would be very important to women in the workplace and would create a

healthier and safer workplace for women and families and the minimum wage has already been mentioned. Over half the states. Over 30 states have minimum wages higher than North Carolina and ours is just draconian at this point are clearly one of the biggest two things we could do immediately to help women are immediately to help women would be expanding medicaid which I'm sure has already been mentioned. It would help working which are significantly women would open up jobs a lot of which women are capable and able and women are likely to be doing and then also we could expand coverage for childcare credits, subsidies child care and for Precaid that would easily do that, find that, we just have to delay the corporate tax increase for a year or to eight months or something would be enough to put about 5000 more children on childcare subsidy and 5000 more slots for pre-K which would get us closer in covering the children we need and make sure families are stronger. So I thank you very much and we continue to fight and raise up the issue for working women of which we all are. Thank you comprehensive and I also like to introduce some other legislators that have come in the room. Representative Rodney Moore is with us from Charlotte. We have Senator Loeb from Winston-Salem North Carolina. Anybody else? Okay, now we'll go back to our presenters we've [xx] whose with [xx] Than you Thank you pleasure to be here with you we're celebrating women's equality day which is the vote. It was a fierce fight winning only after men of every race had to vote before the women of any race did and they no longer fight for women of color yet when you stop to celebrate where you are you had better consider where you're not, born female not one woman American has never drawn a breath fully equal under her own constitution. Our constitution is the highest most formal statement and the human right principles of America yet it does not include to quality provisions as most country do under the 14th amendment racial discrimination is widely viewed through a strict scrutiny lens. Strict scrutiny is the highest level of judicial review but for sex we adopt as typical down equality mind set we lower the bar. Unlike race sex is not sided as a suspect class commending the equal protection that we've for race expecting a less judicial standing, we marginalize our self identity to a degree that is tolerated by no other demographic in our nation although over half of  Americans identify with the female experience our life, our liberties, and our pursuit of happiness are not still equally revealed we're witnessing the greatest appeal of Women's Right in several generations of four mother's wonder 4th summit the vote minors full constitution protection jeopardizes our citizenship and that warning put through we stand odd by the onset of laws that revile and revoke women's rights. Alice Paul one of the champions of the voting movement knew that the laws protecting the right of women can be revoked. She knew there was still a gaping hole in the constitution and following the victory of the vote, she turned a mare three year later and introduced what we now know as the ERA Equal Right Amendment. That amendment boldly challenged the shortcomings of the 40th amendment, in fact when the Women's Equality Celebration was first proclaimed in 1971 and comemorated won in the vote, but it took up when Alice left off calling for continued fight for four equall right the proclamation came on the hills of the largest National Women Strike in America, We Can Do It Again moreover has been the tenth struggle for the E. R. A, but the seventies ended ended on barren for women only 35 of the 38 states needed. And I hear my amens in the corner that ratified theory North Carolina hadn't ratified women's voting rights nor did it rise to this historical moment failing to ratify ERA and people my native state is feed up in this [xx] history on women's rights. I invite you on Friday to match with us to commemorate the vote and to create a a new reality, a really where women are not part time equal in a full time world. We are rising up and this after more than 30 years the ERA walked back on to the North Carolina historical stage, it was refiled in our general assembly by representative fearless Cunningham and senator Floyd Mckissick 20 to four still viable sitting in

the rules committee and to the committee members your silence is consent to the suppression of women equal rights we are taking to the street also to the poles, we will vote like our citizenship depends on it like it does, because it does, thank you. our next speaker is Taser Ramicho with the North Carolina women unit, chancellor. Good morning everybody "Good morning. " I'm Taza Michele, I'm the second vice president of NC women united, which is a coalition of organisations that seek to advance for social economic and political equality of the women. We've even bring in women voices to the state house for over 30 years because we know that public policy has a very powerful role to play in woman lives we've heard about all the progress that women made in recent decades, but the point of today is that we need further improvement and public policy as a past to getting it there. Currently we've disproportion my face challenges and unemployment and poverty and the wage gap limited access to childcare the list goes on and on all this means we're going as lawmakers to say all of us join the youth can really have pact and impact to ones the choices that you make here today on [xx] th difference between a woman living in poverty and a woman with economc securty that allows her to provide for her family that means that difference of accessing affordable childcare or affordable tuition it also means that the difference in whether women here as the domestic violence victim has the option of a speedy divorce so that she can make sure that she and her family can environment and unfortunately after years of dismeanor in the public structures and the progress that we've made in North Carolina of last few years lawmakers have continued on that bill path during this legislative session no one is as clear as then and the the policies that lawmakers are pursuing. Both chambers are pursuing deep tax cut that will make us harder to invest in education the things that really a daughter [xx] for of us especially ditrsacting for women in our state that senate bill 67 is [xx] at the end of the day it will have to and taxes and the mental constitutions that would put basically our budget on auto pilot just these are proven failures and these policies would chop off North Carolinas's economic growth. The impact of women is very clear but not only forced cut and forced into funding vital services to women [xx] [xx] [xx] state. The law makers have killed this policies and committee, you just heard about the equal right act, they have blocked other good policies that points along the legislative process, like the Medicaid expansion and state on income tax credit which forks in the house and the senate have tried to restore on multiple accounts only to have been blocked to add every stage in the process. It's ironic that they are focusing their energy on creating additional barriers that women face and abortion and also accessing unemployment benefits, I do have left out from one bright section is yet to determine that their is amendment in the house in restoring some of the changes that they made in 2014 to the child care subsidy program, they basically made it harder for women to access child care subsides and this movement in the house we hope that on budget writers will put that up in the final budget, but I want to say that it is often said that the strength of the women can carry the world, but as just experiences have taught we can't do it all and we can't it alone. Public policies that are created here on down street can help address the structure and qualities and barriers that women face I though we can build a stronger economy for all. There is no silver bullet, we know however that empowering women is smart economics, we all benefit when women from Marphy to Manio do well right it's due time for state lawmakers to recognize this, and get out of the way, so that we can make things happen. There with women and families or stand in the way. Now we're going to have a Arron Burd to come forward and she's with the North Carolina Black Women Round Table. Arron welcome. Thank you very much good morning everybody I'm Arron Burd and I'm the co-conveinor with spirit house of the black women's round table which is  a network of black women across the country led by Merony Camble

in Washington DC and I thank everybody for coming as well as our fearless legislators fighting for the rights of women, we're greatly appreciative. So 95 years later as Caroline has said, women got the right to vote in 1920 and still are not treated as equal citizens. African-American got their right to 1965 still are not treated as equal citizens a lot of issues have already been raised but I want to say that I will fight for equal rights for women, particularly for African-American women continues and for African American women are the disparities are sharper in every category. So when you talk about pay equity, we make less, when you talk about health care outcomes cancer, diabetes, heart disease, those affect us more strongly. When you talk about the need for paid sick days so that we can have time off to take care of our children and our family members, our elders, when they're sick, that affects us more strongly the income tax credit is another issue as well as a need to raise the minimum wage. The thing that most frustrates me about this is that women are [xx] of the voting population in the state of North Carolina, and if we came together, we would be able to build the power of the vote to change these circumstances even particularly in this building we women are under-represented and we don't have the voices at the table to represent the issues that we care about and that's wrong. I want to [xx] [xx] unequal and women are vastly under-represented but we are coming together today to say that we plan to change that [xx] we have had enough, we have had enough, we a have had enough. I want us to just close with a statement [xx] [xx] we'll be reaching out to them to remind them and ask them to join our campaign and just remind everybody that if you're standing against us and you're standing in the way, the election is in November. We have these ladies is really we iterate the importance of women working together [xx] now we're going to have a summary, all that has been said by Mike Kocheer of the Joint Legislative Democratic Women office, senator Gladys Robinson. Thank you and thank you representative from [xx] even before 1891, their was a woman who said eight hour woman and so Sojourner a truth that we forget today was one of those who said that she could carry as much of a load as a man, but she wasn't equal. And so even fast forward and I remember in Greensborough in the 1960s when women in cafeterias where making less than two dollars an hour to take care of their families and we protested for that. And as we move forward times still are bad for women. We are looking at the same force in term of me and making choices and decisions for us. But in summary of today's session times have changed. Women today make up over half of our collage graduates and half of the work force low wage industries where the jobs are growing fast but the wages are less. Most of these women have children you've heard about us child care subsidies. And so they can't afford to put their children in daycare.compare just to 11% in 1960 to 40% of all households are headed by women, they're the breadwinners. Tough economic times are driving more and more women to work out their homes yet work places have failed to update their policies to reflect what you've just heard in terms of support for these women to support their families. In North Carolina women earn less than men, we know that a lot of us are in jobs at our home places where we earn less regardless of degrees, women hold

disproportionately fear leadership positions, and we've seen that in the general assembly for a long time, but thank God we've more women now. Women like paid leave to care for their children and parents and they continue to face discrimination on the jobs, is a disgrace that in North Carolina almost 20 % of women live in poverty, and 30% of African-American women live poverty. What's worse is that many of these women work yet they can't support themselves or their families because of low pay. In our state women face an additional burn because our legislature has refused to expand medicaid, which means that over 277, 000 women have no to federal basic health care that includes birth control, mammograms, preventive health care, or regular treatment for chronic diseases so women are sick, and that means their families are sicker. Many of our politicians have focus on the wrong priorities, as you continue to hear them, cutting public service like education, which is a way to move up, giving tax break, giveaways to the rich, and trying to restrict women's reproductive health is that a policy that we focus on improving pay, supporting our families, improving an education and enrichen our state. As an elected official, I am committed to providing better wages providing paid leave, expanding health care, and creating fair standards that level the playing field for women in the work force and the economy. We here today they are committed to policies that will improve the lives of women and families, and strengthen our economy that enable wormen to take care of their families and that move our state forward, in terms of fairness and equality for all. That's I, and my colleagues here are signing on to the stand with women with families, or get out of our way. I want to than all of the speakers, they were excellent. I want to especially mention the partnering organisations for this well done press conference and for the Womens Equality Day of this week, April 28th where the key note speakers will be Elane Marshall and senator Erika they are people we want think are working in America and they are joined by Action North Carolina mums urging the North Carolina justice the North Carolina National organisations for women, the north Carolina women united, the north Carolina women matters the north Carolina for ERA the north Carolina black women this round table, the NCAFLCIO, the Plant Parenthood South Atlantic Region, League of women Voters of Piedmont Women North Carolina, and Women Advanced of Durham North Carolina. These are the partners who they can make women equality day and the press conference possible and there work is generally appreciated. Finally I want to entertain questions and answers, we've got about five more minutes, we want to leave at 11:40 action North Carolina we need them all. Okay. We did. Any questions. Represents Donald Pierce are you here? Right here. Representative Donald Pierce is chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus, we're glad you're joining us. We have men that are standing is that wonderful, Representative Johnson, James Boles, representative Lee [xx] Any question? No question? That means we did an excellent job, thank you all for being here. Thank you. Thank you.