The Democratic Party of Wisconsin held a roundtable discussion Wednesday, led by two female state legislators, to proclaim why U.S. Senate candidate and former Gov. Tommy Thompson is wrong for Wisconsin women.
At the event, attended by about 20 onlookers, Rep. Chris Taylor, D–Madison, and Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, addressed why U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, is the “clear choice” for women in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate election.
Roys said Thompson’s policies discouraging equal pay for women would inhibit potential economic growth. She also attacked Republicans by saying some, including Thompson, do not believe women who are paid less than men should have the right to go to court and receive compensation for that discrimination.
Roys noted if women were paid the same as men who do the same work, $200 billion more would flow through the U.S. economy.
“Tommy Thompson doesn’t understand this issue and doesn’t understand what economic security means to women,” she said. “He has called the issue of equal pay for women a ‘distraction.’”
Roys refuted Thompson’s notion, saying equal pay for equal work is not a distraction but is instead a policy that would ensure women can care for themselves and their families and make ends meet.
Taylor echoed Roys’ feeling equal work for equal pay provides social and economic benefits and called it “ridiculous” the issue is being debated.
The Thompson campaign did not reply to calls and emails requesting an interview.
Thompson has received an endorsement from Wisconsin Right to Life. Of the endorsements listed on his website, three claim he has always been an advocate for women. Republican National Committeewoman Mary Buestrin and two former presidents of the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women account for those three endorsements.
In her endorsement of Thompson, former WFRW President Sue Lynch said his record as governor has shown he supports many issues women care about.
“Not only is Tommy the only proven conservative in this race, but he was a trailblazer for women’s causes during his time as governor,” Lynch said in a statement. “Indeed, Tommy appointed more women to state judgeships than any other governor in state history, and he created countless opportunities for women at the highest levels of his administration.”
Taylor highlighted Baldwin’s record on health care while criticizing what she said was Thompson’s desire to do away with Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.
She also praised Obamacare’s support of women’s rights through equal costs of health insurance between males and females and the coverage of women’s health screenings.
“We have our prevention-based health care under Obamacare without paying out of pocket costs,” Taylor said. “Birth control is covered, cervical and breast cancer screenings. [This is all] very, very important and yet, Tommy Thompson said he’s going to do away with that. That hurts us.”
Former University of Wisconsin student and current Campus Organizer of Planned Parenthood Victoria Boucher said she appreciates Baldwin’s support of the Affordable Care Act.
She said she, and other women around the country, are saving on average about $600 a year because birth control co-pays were eliminated, something she said women are “extremely thankful for.”