Republican women’s PAC opposes Lilly Ledbetter Act

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 11:20 PM

DALLAS — A new Republican political action committee designed to recruit women to the state's GOP said the Lilly Ledbetter Act is not the answer to making sure women earn the same wages as men.

“We believe Texas women want and deserve equal pay," said Cari Christman, executive director of RedState Women, during WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics on Sunday. "But honestly, Jason, we don’t believe the Lilly Ledbetter Act is going to solve that act for women. We believe women want real world solutions to this problem, not more rhetoric."

When asked what those solutions might be, Christman said, "Women are extremely busy,” and later added that more access to jobs and higher education are among the options.

But Grace Ann Garcia, executive director of Annie's List, an organization promoting Democratic women in politics, said Christman misses the point.

"We support more access to jobs. But when women get these jobs, we want them to get paid fairly," Garcia said.

Equal pay for women was a bi-partisan bill in the last legislative session. But in recent weeks, it has suddenly become a campaign issue.

"Wendy Davis will take any toe hold on the ladder she can get at this point," said Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy. "If equal pay is a subject to talk about that keeps the Republicans from talking about abortion, she'll take that. Equal pay will be a great issue for women."

Congress passed a federal version of the Lilly Ledbetter Act in 2009. But it only lets women sue for equal pay in federal courts within their first 180 days of employment.

The 2013 state version would have let women sue in Texas courts, and would give them longer to do so.

But Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it.

Last week, the Republican front-runner in the governor's race, Greg Abbott, told Inside Texas Politics that existing law is good enough.

He needs women voters, as well, but spent Monday highlighting Hispanics and his connection to that community in a new video.

Abbott’s campaign released a 30-second online video Monday morning showing his recent campaign visit to Edinburg. The video stressed multiculturalism, and focused on Abbott’s outreach across the state.

"You look at my family, you see a family that's so typical of so many families across the state of Texas," Abbott said in the video. "We're both Anglo and Hispanic, as well as Irish. We're Catholic. We're Protestant. But we're all one family. The reality is that multiculturalism works in the state of Texas. We are one people — we are all Texans."

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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