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Letter to the Editor

Attention Must Be Paid

web posted August 28, 2008
Dear Editor,
Anyone elected to represent the citizens of South Carolina in Congress must take into consideration the needs and wants of the women voters who elected that Representative to office. J. Gresham Barrett has proved himself disconnected from the wants and needs of the women in his district. Just one month ago on July 31st he voted against HR1338 requiring equal pay for equal work for both sexes, proving he is out of touch with the women voters who elected him. Last year he voted against HR2764 that would permit a woman to breastfeed her child on federal property. Fortunately, the President signed HR2764.
In 2007 he voted against HR1592, which allows the Attorney General to provide assistance for the criminal investigation of crimes motivated by prejudice based on gender. Barrett consistently votes against what women need.
A poll recently conducted by Peter Hart Research for the National Women's Law Center tells us what women want. 59% of women are concerned about their economic situation, and 68% believe we need strong women's leadership to make the changes that are necessary. Almost 50% of men agree.
Hart Research reports that 25% of girls drop out of high school and earn about $9,000 less than the lowest wages earned by males. In general, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. And Barrett would keep it that way even though 60% of the poor are women and a third of single mothers live in poverty. During the last eight years, programs to help these women have been cut because taxes have been lowered on the very wealthy.
According to Hart more than 17 million women have no health insurance and 20% report they could not fill prescriptions in the last year because of cost. Half of all pregnancies are unintended and the cost of birth control has increased by ten fold. Health insurance corporation policies based on pre-existing conditions and gender based premiums are hurting women. And this doesn't address problems associated with childcare or family medical leave.
We need our representatives to represent all the people not just the interests of the wealthy and huge profit making corporations. We need to reduce poverty and improve economic security, which would help both the poor and increase corporate sales. We need a tax system that does not put the burden on the little people.
Consider the facts offered to us on the website voterunlead.org. Of the 12,000 members of Congress there have only been 215 women elected in the history of the United States. Yet 51% of the voting population is made up of women. According to voterunlead.org there are 5.3 million more women than men. Over 15 million 18-34 year old women did not vote in the last presidential election.
Think what these numbers mean. Only male interests, valid male interests certainly, are given consideration, but no debate is heard in the corridors of power for the interests of women, their families, health, education, and future. This situation can only weaken America.
It is time to elect a representative who will fight for all the people.

Jane Ballard Dyer

Editor's note: Jane Ballard Dyer is running for US Congress for the 3rd Congressional District

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