SENATE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN UNVEIL CHECKLIST FOR CHANGE
This week, Senate Democratic women launched the Checklist for Change website to highlight their fight for middle class families and an affordable American dream. Senate Democratic Women for Change launched http://democrats.senate.gov/checklistforchange/to discuss their commitment to provide equal pay for working people, keep good jobs in America, fight global climate change, restore America's image around the world, and other crucial issues. During the coming months the senators will release videos and other content to communicate the challenges their constituents face all over America and what can done to help them.
On Tuesday, Senators Barbara Mikulski (MD), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Blanche Lincoln, (AR), Patty Murray (WA), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Barbara Boxer (CA), Maria Cantwell (WA), Mary Landrieu (LA), Claire McCaskill (MO), and, Amy Klobuchar (MN) kicked off their effort to focus on not only the macro issues but the "macaroni-and-cheese" issues that confront America's families, small businesses, seniors, students, and veterans.
Senator Mikulski, Dean of the Senate women, said, "We have come together to offer America a check list for change. We are a voice for the women of America. We are the voice for families of America. And we are here to fight for change." She continued, "In the year 2008, women are still earning 77 cents to every dollar our male counterparts make. It's time to put our lipstick on, square our shoulders, suit up and fight. We want equal pay in our check book and we want equal pay in the federal law book."
Senator Stabenow said, "I'm focused on the fact that just since January of this year, 324,000 good-paying American jobs have been lost. Since Bush took over the White House, we have lost 3 million manufacturing jobs in this country. The people of Michigan have taken a big hit from that loss. Meanwhile, those families still have to pay high gas and food prices. We have to end the race to the bottom that is depressing middle class incomes, sending our jobs overseas and threatening the American dream. We embrace a race to the top that includes exporting American products rather than our jobs."
Senator Lincoln followed, "I challenge those on the other side of the aisle to stand with us not against us. As the richest, most powerful country in the world we owe it to the working families and taxpayers of this country to remove the uncertainty that looms over them when an illness strikes. At those times, people pray and worry about when their family member will get well. They shouldn't have to pray and worry about how they will afford the necessary treatment and medical bills. I support the Checklist because making health care affordable for all Americans is a change worth fighting for."
Senator Murray stated, "On every woman's refrigerator checklist is to take care of her family first. And nowhere is that priority more important in this country than with military families, those who have sacrificed for all of us. Yet, this Administration, time and again, has ignored those families to whom we owe so much. You can bet that on our Checklist for Change, we're going to make sure that those men and women and their families that have sacrificed for us are number one when it comes to taking care of them when they come home."
"I have come to believe that one of the major items of any checklist for change should be restoring America's credibility in the world today," Senator Feinstein said. She went on to say, "This great country has always been called a beacon of hope because people all over the world look to American justice and American human rights for inspiration. But now under this president that beacon has been dimmed. The time has come for change; the time has come to restore this great nation's credibility as a moral and a just nation, dedicated to liberty and to justice.
Senator Boxer said, " Restoring our credibility in the world also means becoming a leader once again on the environment. We must reverse the dangerous, anti-environmental policies of this Administration and work with a new Administration to bring back the health protections the American people deserve, as well as finally lead on global warming. We owe nothing less to our families, to our children and our grandchildren."
At Tuesday's press conference Cantwell stated, "Obviously the energy crisis is no longer a future problem. It is today's problem. For too long, the energy policy in the United State's Senate has been stuck in second gear by those who don't want to make an investment in renewables. And it has been stuck by a White House whose only direction for an energy policy, seems to be in reverse. Well, the Democratic women are here to say that we are going to change the agenda."
Senator Landrieu focused on the need to prepare American communities for future disasters. She said, "One item on our checklist is a FEMA that will work for America. A FEMA that serves as a partner with individuals and businesses to rebuild their towns and cities - whether on the Gulf Coast or in the Great Plains along the Mississippi, in Iowa or in Sacramento. We cannot wait much longer. People's lives, futures and dreams have been put on hold because of a federal government that is too weak to respond - a federal government that does not believe in being the muscular, bold leader that we need in times of crisis. We want a different approach. We want an approach that does not waste taxpayer dollars, but uses them wisely to help people gain their footing again."
The Checklist for Change highlights the need to spend tax dollars wisely. Senator McCaskill commented, "This Administration and the other party has taken spending to a new art form. They have driven us into an economic ditch. And it is imperative as we fight for this change that we prioritize spending taxpayer money in a disciplined way; in a way that is accountable to the hard-working people out there that earned that money."
Senator Klobuchar said, "Our checklist for America ends where it begins: With the family checkbook. In the last seven years, the average middle class family's wages have gone down $1000, but their expenses have gone up $4500. This means an annual income loss, every year, of $5500. American families deserve an advocate for them. And we need not only change for the agenda, but we need to put a little bit of change back in the American family's checkbook. This session, we stood up for middle class families by increasing the minimum wage for the first time in ten years, making college more affordable, taking on the special interests, from the oil companies to the toxic toy manufacturers. But so much more needs to be done."
During the coming months, the senators will continue to highlight their Checklist as they demand change for America. "This is the list for all of America. We are so focused on this list and making sure the people across this country understand that we as Democratic women are united in getting these things done," said Senator Lincoln.