SUPPORT OUR WORK IN 2017
Sometimes it can feel like we keep fighting the same fights, but as Delores Huerta said, at some point we will win. That’s why we can never give up. In 2017 we know we will face attacks at the state and federal level on our right to an abortion, on our access to health care, on the rights of LGBTQ+ people, and on other civil rights. We know we’ll see efforts to shame, blame, and punish people living in poverty as well as efforts to make Maine and the United States less welcoming to immigrants. Together we worked hard to pass Maine’s new minimum wage law that will not only gradually raise the regular minimum wage to $12/hour by 2020, but will also gradually eliminate the subminimum tipped wage by 2024—an important economic security win for the women who are more than 70% of workers who earn tips. But in the coming weeks we know we will see legislative efforts to undermine this vital new law.
These are just some of the challenges we will see in the new year and we will stand strong against them. But we will also be looking for opportunities to make progress. That’s why we’re looking forward to supporting legislation that would expand access to paid family and medical leave. At some point, we all need time to recover from a serious illness or surgery, care for a new baby, or help a loved one struggling with a serious health issue. By making sure all workers can access paid leave, we will not only strengthen their economic security, but we will also help businesses, our economy, and have better health outcomes for Maine families.
For 38 years we have been the voice of Maine women when policy decisions are being made, and we’ll continue to be that loud and clear voice until true equity for all women is a reality. Please consider making a gift of $17 or more to support our work in 2017. You can make your gift online at bit.ly/MWLdonate or mail a check to Maine Women’s Lobby at 124 Sewall St, Augusta, ME 04330.
Another option is to become a Loyal Lobbyist with a monthly gift that sustains our work all year long. A small monthly gift of $5, $10, $17, or more adds up to a big difference over twelve months.
SAVE THESE DATES
We’re in the midst of planning our year. Thanks to the hard work of Victoria, our Community Organizer and Program Assistant, we will be able to hold more events than ever before. Following are some great opportunities to learn more about the issues and connect with other activists. If you have an idea for an event in your area, contact Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of our staff and board members will also be participating in the upcoming women’s marches in Washington, D.C. and in Maine. We’ve heard from many of you that you are interested in getting involved, too.
THE FUTURE CABINET AND SUPREME COURT
2017 will bring many changes to our federal government. Two we’re watching carefully are President-Elect Trump’s choices for his cabinet and his choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. We’ve been deeply concerned by the people he’s selected so far. Hearings on his nominee for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, will likely begin in just a couple weeks. This Senator from Alabama has a long history of making racist remarks, and of being against civil rights, positive immigration reforms, LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, and worker rights. We wouldn’t want to see these qualities in any cabinet member, but they are of extra concern for the Attorney General—someone whose job is to defend the rights of all Americans. We’ll be sharing more information about this nomination and the importance of talking to our Senators about their votes on it.
The Alliance for Justice has put together this fact sheet about his record: Unfit in Every Way: The Sessions Record. And AFJ’s Nan Aron wrote this op-ed about the need for the Senate to vote ‘no’ on this nomination: Senators must use conscience to reject Sessions as attorney general.
Andy Puzder, President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Labor, is another nominee who is problematic for women. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the company that owns the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains. He’s defended his company’s use of ads that objectify women, opposes efforts to raise the minimum wage and improve overtime rules, opposed the Affordable Care Act, and has disparaged workers living in poverty. As Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project said of Puzder, “It’s hard to think of anyone less suited for the job of lifting up forgotten workers than Puzder, a billionaire CEO who vocally opposes any meaningful increase in the minimum wage, who talks glibly about replacing workers with machines, and who consistently attacks rules that protect both workers and law-abiding employers.”
Read more about this troubling nomination: Why Trump’s labor secretary is an extreme contradiction.
And as we’ve written before, we will be closely watching who is nominated to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy. Thanks to the obstruction of Republican Leadership in the US Senate, 54 pending judicial nominees will expire when today comes to an end. This includes Judge Merrick Garland, the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court, who has waited longer than any nominee for a hearing and vote—even in an election year. They failed to do their job and our judicial system is suffering for it. As we look ahead to the future of the federal courts, here are a few interesting news pieces about where we are and where we’re likely going:
THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR STORY
One of the most powerful actions you can take is to share your story. That’s why we’re collecting stories for two key policy areas this year. Parents of young children in Maine face many barriers when they look for early childhood education programs and quality, affordable childcare. This is serious not only because the first five years of a child’s life are critical in shaping the architecture of the brain, but also because lack of access to quality, affordable care impacts families’ economic security. Go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/
Time and again we hear from women who are struggling because they don’t have access to paid leave. Women who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are adopting a child struggle financially if they take the time they need to care for a new child without a paycheck. Women who are trying to care for an aging spouse or parent face similar financial challenges. But the majority of workers don’t have access to paid leave through their workplaces. As we wrote earlier, we’ll be looking to support legislation to address this problem in 2017. Go to bit.ly/paidleavestory to share your story about the need for all workers to be able to access paid family and medical leave.
We’ll also be facing attacks on our reproductive rights, access to health care, people living in poverty, immigrants, and our new minimum wage law. If you would like to share your experiences with any of those issues, we would love to hear from you, too. Please contact Victoria at email@example.com or 207.622.0851 x5.
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Thank you for your support in 2016. We look forward to working together with you in the new year to continue to build a brighter future for Maine women and girls. A future where:
- All women and children are safe from violence and sexual assault.
- Quality health care is accessible and affordable for every Maine woman and child.
- All women can choose whether or when to have children—and be able to parent their children in a safe and healthy environment.
- No women live in poverty.
- Maine’s laws and policies treat all women with equity and dignity independent of race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, immigration status, or sexual orientation.
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