Dear Fellow Coloradan,
Colorado women work hard every day, displaying the kind of common-sense leadership that makes our communities better places to live and work. That's why I recently launched my Women's Policy Network, an initiative to ensure that the ideas and concerns of women across our state continue to guide my work.
From Southern Colorado to the Eastern Plains and the Central Mountains, my staff and I have already held dozens of brainstorming sessions with Colorado women. I'd like to share some of what I've been hearing on the ground with you and invite you to share your ideas with me.
Udall listens to a constituent at a meeting of his Women's Policy Network.
Jobs, the Economy, and Equal Pay
While more and more women are graduating college and earning advanced degrees, they still earn less than what men make doing the exact same work. Colorado women have told me this is unacceptable -- and I completely agree. Earlier this year I cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure that our community's mothers, wives, sisters and daughters receive equal pay for equal work. But economic equality is about more than equal pay. I'm fighting every day for policies that spur the private sector to create good-paying jobs so more women have access to stable careers and leadership opportunities, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM fields).
Combatting Violence Against Women
With Coloradans by my side, we have made great progress this year to provide women with the resources they need to confront domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Thanks to your voices, Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act despite widespread opposition in the U.S. House of Representatives. This truly was your victory, and I was proud to be part of it.
But we still have a ways to go to ensure that no woman fears for her safety at home, in a relationship or at school, where she should feel safest. The brave women serving our country in the armed services are no exception, and many Coloradans told me they were shocked by recent news of rising sexual assaults in the military. As a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, I'm pushing Congress and Colorado's military community to take decisive action to eliminate sexual assaults committed by military personnel and take the prosecution of such crimes out of the chain of command.
Keeping Government Out of Private Health Decisions
One of the most common concerns I hear from women across Colorado is that they are fed up with politicians inserting themselves in between women and their doctors and intruding upon private health decisions. I have long supported safe and legal access to family planning and believe the government should stay out of these private matters. And we must not let politics infringe on the freedom of doctors who are providing women worldwide with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health. That's why I'm continuing to push for a legislative reversal to the "Global Gag Rule," which blocked U.S. assistance to groups that educate the world's neediest women about reproductive choice.
Thank you to all the women who have met so far with me and my staff. Your insights help to chart a course Washington would be wise to follow. I will champion your views and keep you updated on our progress. In the meantime, please keep sending me your ideas.
We still have a lot of work to do in Washington, but I look forward to standing with Colorado women to confront these challenges head-on. Let's turn YOUR ideas into action.