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I thank the chairwoman for what she does and how well she has been leading this charge for all of us. As a proud husband of a brilliant and talented woman, my wife Gayle, and as the father of two daughters and the grandfather of six granddaughters, all of whom are gifted and make great contributions to our country, I believe it is past time women earn the same amount as men in the workplace. We need to correct this unfairness to make sure women are paid what they deserve.
As we join together today to celebrate Equal Pay Day in the year 2014, it just defies common sense that working women in West Virginia earn only 70--not 77 but 70--cents to every dollar a man makes. Too many families are working too hard to make ends meet, and especially in families where women are the breadwinners.
In West Virginia there are more than 81,000 family households headed by women. About 36 percent of those families, or nearly 29,200 family households, have incomes that fall below the poverty level. Eliminating the wage gap would provide much needed income to women whose wages put food on the table, pay the bills, and maintain a respectable quality of life for their children and families.
Growing up I was blessed to be raised by two strong, hardworking women--my grandmother, affectionately known as Mama Kay, and my mother. By example, both of these wonderful ladies taught me that women can work just as hard, if not harder, with more responsibilities, and they should get paid the same as a man. As a matter of fact, they probably should get overtime. There is no reason why they shouldn't have received the same pay for the same job as men, and that certainly resonates today.
Since I joined the Senate, I have been proud to have cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act. The very first vote I took in the Senate was for paycheck fairness. Until Congress passes this truly commonsense bill, I will continue to fight for paycheck fairness because the bottom line is people should earn the same pay for the same work, period, no excuses.
As a former governor, most of my decisionmaking was made around good strong women who sat down and gave me the facts and nothing but the facts, and I appreciated that.
It shouldn't matter whether you are a man or a woman. You should be treated fairly no matter what, no matter where you are or what you do.
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