US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) joined Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida) to headline a Working Women Town Hall in Orlando. The event which was hosted by The Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (FIRE) drew a packed audience.
The town hall comes on the heels of a report released on women’s health. Just this week, the Alliance for a Just Society released a Women’s Health Report Card that ranked all 50 states in the areas of health coverage for women, women’s access to health care, and women’s health outcomes. Florida ranks 35th and received a “D” grade overall. Florida ranked second from bottom among the ten largest states by population in the union (thank goodness for Texas!).
Medicaid expansion which should quite frankly be a bigger issue in the ongoing 2014 Florida election and earned sick time were among the questions posed by the audience to a panel which included Lauren Rowe, a former TV news anchor and producer of Flashpoint, Denise Diaz, Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, Marytza Sanz, President and CEO of Latino Leadership, and Jenna Tosh, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando.
“When women are empowered to succeed, we know we will unlock the promise of our future and jumpstart the middle class,” said House Democratic Leader (and former House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi. “With the help of leaders like Congressman Grayson and local advocates, we will unleash the full potential of working women in our economy, sustaining their rights, expanding their opportunities, and strengthening the middle class.”
Stephanie Porta, Executive Director of the Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment said, “Today, too many women face an impossible choice between fulfilling their family or work responsibilities. Women are consistently paid less than their male counterparts and make up a disproportionate share of low-wage workers. Women deserve to earn as much as men and to have a fair chance to succeed in the workplace with family-friendly policies like Earned Sick Time.”
Women will play a critical role in the Florida election as also evidenced by Michelle Obama’s visit to Central Florida the very same day. The First Lady came to town to stump for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist. Current public polling shows a massive gender gap in the Governor’s race favoring the Democrat.