Our Platform

Women’s Caucus 2013 PLATFORM 

In order for our democracy to flourish and reach its full potential, we need an informed, responsible citizenry and a commitment from citizens to participate. We desire a society and government in which individual dignity is acknowledged, in which the people willingly fulfill their responsibilities, and in which the common good is the overarching concern. In Hillary Clinton’s 1995 Beijing speech she stated, “…human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights”. We believe in those human rights and everything that they entail - from economic participation, to political participation, to access to education, to being safe and free from violence. 

The primary aim of the Monmouth County Democratic Women’s Caucus (MCDWC) Platform is to help preserve a high quality of life and protect the rights of Monmouth County families. We support state, county and local candidates and elected officials who support our positions as outlined in this platform.

  1. 1.  Income and Wealth Security

JOB CREATION

POLICY

The biggest Job Creation strategy in New Jersey has been offering corporations more subsidies and tax credits in the hope that they will create jobs. Gov. Christie’s 2013 budget includes $2.3 billion in “targeted” tax breaks for corporations. But, jobs have been slow to come. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is the fourth-highest in the nation and 47th in economic growth. If we stay on the same course, we’re not expected to return to pre-recession employment until 2018. In addition, New Jersey was one of two states where the annual jobless rate rose in 2012. New Jersey needs a new strategy for job creation.[1]

 

We  support

  1. Lower corporate subsidies and tax break to increase revenue
  2. Cuts to Property Taxes for all New Jersey Residents
  3. Investing in rebuilding New Jersey’s infrastructure, manufacturing, and education.
  4. Small business hiring by cutting taxes for businesses that hire new workers or pay higher wages.
  5. Rewarding companies that bring jobs to New Jersey with lower taxes and pay for it by eliminating tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.

FAIR LIVING WAGES

POLICY

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, increase the minimum cash wage for tipped workers from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, and index these wages to keep up with inflation. Women will benefit from Fair Minimum Wage Act because we are about two-thirds of workers earning the federal minimum wage or less. 

The New Jersey Assembly approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the state minimum wage. Women in New Jersey would especially benefit from a minimum wage increase because they represent themajority of the state’s minimum wage workers. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that nearly half a million workers in New Jersey would get a raise under the amendment, 55 percent of them women. Higher pay for thousands of New Jersey women would help narrow the gap between women’s and men’s earnings in the state – and bigger paychecks for workers would boost New Jersey’s economy and help create more than 1,700 jobs.[2]

We support

  1. Minimum Wage Act of 2013 at the New Jersey State level
  2. NJ Minimum Wage Bill w/Minimum Tip  Wage

EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK

POLICY

At the state level: In 2008, the American Association of University Women – New Jersey (AAUW-NJ) analyzed data from the American Community Survey to highlight the wage gap  New Jersey women  face in the labor market. According to AAUW, New Jersey women typically earn 78 percent of men’s earnings. Surprisingly, New Jersey college educated women are earning worse relative to New Jersey’s college educated men—taking home about 71 percent of their male peers’ earnings.[3] 

Noted in the report, New Jersey ranks high in overall income (median household income is $70,378, 2nd in the nation) but pay higher prices for basic needs—housing, childcare, healthcare, taxes, transportation, etc.  The New Jersey self sufficiency standard (the basic income needed to get by) reveal that women’s median income ($44,434) fall short of what is needed to meet basic needs. In several New Jersey counties, the self-sufficiency yearly income of a single parent of a pre-schooler need to be--$48,154 in Mercer County, $49,773 in Middlesex County, and $54, 210 in Somerset County. It increases when additional children are added. So frankly, addressing the pay gap is a matter of fairness as well as economic survival for women.[4]

At the national level: Today women represent half of our nation’s workforce, but two-thirds of working women are concentrated in only 5% of occupational categories, most of which are among the lowest paid occupations, except for teaching and nursing. Nontraditional jobs—those in which women comprise 25% or less of employees—pay 20-30% more than traditionally female jobs, but only 6.2% of women are employed in these occupations. 

The Women WIN Jobs has been re-introduced. Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act is an effort to fight gender inequity in the workplace and give low-income women a pathway out of poverty. This legislation was offered as an amendment on, Wednesday, March 6th at the Education and the Workforce Full Committee mark up of H.R. 803, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, which will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to create a more effective workforce development system.

We  support

  1. Efforts to pass state level legislation comparable to the national Lilly Ledbetter Act, Paycheck Fairness Act and Fair Pay Act.
  2. The Women WIN Jobs Act. Contact representatives and urge them to join as co-sponsors. Contact Eve.Lieberman@mail.house.gov, 225-2161, in Rep. Polis‘ office, or Emerald.Christopher@mail.house.gov, 225-3661, in Rep. DeLauro’s office.

2     Quality Education – The Best Investment for our Future 

INCREASE FUNDING FOR K-12 EDUCATION

POLICY

Gov. Christie’s election year budget plan, for the second year, proposes no school aid increase for over 200 school districts.  Those districts receiving aid is so small that the paltry 1.2% does not keep pace with inflection, projecting only $117.00 more per student. While Gov. Christie’s plan allows for a 20% increase to several of the smallest districts in the state, the districts that are due an increase are only receiving one fifth of what they are owed.  Ninety-three (93) of the 285 flat or nearly flat funded districts are "below adequacy" as of last year. "Adequacy" is the level of spending determined by the State funding formula - the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) - necessary to provide all students a constitutionally mandated "thorough and efficient" education.[5]

"This proposed budget is more evidence of Governor Christie and Acting Commissioner Cerf‘s total disregard for the funding needs of New Jersey's public schools and at-risk children, and his willingness to simply ignore the school funding law.  NJ Legislators from across the state passed a budget that rejects unilateral changes proposed by the Governor that would have gutted New Jersey’s landmark school aid formula, the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA) with a significant win to build on.  For the fifth year, the Gov. ignores the state’s own funding formula by short changing public schools by more than 1 Billion dollars. Cerf’s funding report does not comply with law.[6]

NJ public schools are funded with a combination of local property taxes and State aid based on income taxes. How much individuals districts receive in State aid is based on a formula that factors in the needs of individual children, regardless of where they live. Christie’s current budget proposal does not include funding for after school programs, breakfast programs or adult education. [7]

MCD Women’s Caucus support efforts to ensure every child has access to high-quality public school education and protecting the NJ school funding formula including access to quality higher education and adult education.

We support and encourage

  1. 1.     New Jersey to meet quality benchmarks to access federal funding for quality Early Childhood Education.
  2. 2.     Municipalities to expand the availability of full-day kindergarten.
  3. Efforts to educate Monmouth residents on the NJ school funding formula 

EDUCATION/TRAIN FOR JOBS IN GROWTH INDUSTRIES 

POLICY

MCDWC support and promote the interests of our youth and women seeking jobs or expanding their education in growing industries, including but not limited to STEM careers, Law and Politics.

We support

  1. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Education for our youth and women.
  2. Programs that provide our youth with opportunities such as Teen 2013 and/or internships within the STEM career base.  Provide women with On-the-job training opportunities such as registered apprenticeships and paid internships that allow female students to earn credit for work-based learning and gain relevant employment experience in high-wage, high-skill fields.
  3. Women entering into new career fields and/or non-traditional educational programs and/or occupations for jobs of growing industries. 

EXPAND ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY HIGHER LEARNING 

POLICY

Learning and education are vitally important for the maintenance, stability, and growth of society.  MyLab and Mastering, delivering customizable content and highly personalized study paths, have changed the way millions of students learn around the globe and have proven effective at helping colleges and universities improve student performance and lower costs. 

We support

  1. Efforts to educate Monmouth County youth and residents on the importance of obtaining a high level College or University education.
  2. Efforts to educate on preparation and options available through camps and/or fairs.

3. PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT 

CLIMATE CHANGE

POLICY

Evidence for climate change and the resulting increase in extreme weather has become more and more evident. The increase of super storms, droughts and wildfires, glacial melting and sea level rise is consistent with scientific climate change models based on society’s energy and environmental choices. MCDWC believes that legislative inaction and denial have prevailed. It is time to commit to serious policy changes that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, promote conservation and drive implementation of clean, renewable energy. Issues such as coastal flooding that arise as a result of climate change impact our families’ safety and economic well-being. The risks of property devaluation, poor health, loss of businesses and jobs and the ultimate risk of homelessness disproportionately affect women as the primary caretakers of families. MCDWC believes the State should use its resources in planning and regulation to support the rebuilding of coastal communities in a transparent responsible way with informed local participation. 

We encourage adequate state funding of the NJDEP’s enforcement functions and rescinding of the NJDEP’sWaiver Rule which gives the DEP the power to grant exemptions to hundreds of environmental, health and workplace safety rules putting economic priorities above the health and safety of the public.

We support

MCDWC supports the guiding principles for rebuilding after hurricane Sandy as enumerated in the New Jersey: Better, Smarter Future document. 

  1. State Concurrent Resolution No. 59 (Senators Buono, Gordon, and Greenstein) which determines that the DEP’s Waiver Rule is inconsistent with legislative intent and is the first step in overturning this disastrous rule, brought about by Governor Christie’s Executive Order #2.

CLEAN, RENEWABLE ENGERGY  

POLICY

MCDWC is discouraged by our Governor’s pull back on New Jersey’s commitment to renewable energy. Specifically, we oppose the decision to withdraw from RGGI, the reduction of New Jersey’s renewable energy goals in the Energy Master Plan, and the raid of the Clean Energy Fund, to plug the State budget. MCDWC instead supports increasing the percentage of renewable energy sources in New Jersey and the use of Clean Energy Fund monies as intended. We believe offshore wind energy production is critically important to achieving New Jersey’s renewable energy goals, and has the potential to boost our economy through job creation. Nationally, we oppose additional seismic exploration and off-shore drilling for gas and oil along our Atlantic Coast. Instead, we support redirecting the resources used for gas and oil exploration into fast tracking a clean energy economy which will increase jobs.

We will

MCDWC will encourage our members to become active in at least one of the NJ environmental groups listed at:www.njenvironment.org/environmentallinkshtml 

CLEAN WATER  

POLICY

According to a 2012 report by Environment NJ, industrial facilities dumped 8.5 million tons of toxic chemicals into New Jersey’s waterways, making them the 12th most polluted in the nation.  MCDWC believes we can and must do better!

MCDWC supports policies that protect Monmouth County’s considerable water resources. We support the reinforcement of a stable, dedicated source of funding for open space preservation and the development, and adoption of water quality management plans. The industrial process known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is an extremely water intensive process that uses many undisclosed chemicals and produces vast amounts of toxic waste (including radioactive waste), contributing to air and water pollution.  MCDWC supports rescinding the Governor’s veto on the bipartisan ban on hydraulic fracturing. Because fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Actwe believe that until it can be made safer through federal oversight and regulation, it should be banned. The MCDWC also opposes weakening of our drinking water standards. 

We will

MCDWC will encourage its members to join with Food and Water Watch in its campaign to pass municipal resolutions banning hydraulic fracturing and the acceptance of hydraulic fracturing wastes in New Jersey, and will support State Bills S246/A567 banning hydraulic fracturing and S3049/A575 prohibiting the treatment and discharge of the wastes in New Jersey. Our Caucus will also urge the Governor to support the legislature’s bipartisan ban on fracking 

MCDWC will oppose A2123, proposed legislation that would weaken our drinking water standards by adding three industry representatives to the nine member Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI) and changing how the institute can make recommendations for tougher standards

4. THE RIGHT TO HEALTH & SAFETY

HEALTH CARE PLANS

POLICY

Gov. Christie agreed to accept federal money to expand the Medicaid program in New Jersey. His proposed budget would provide health insurance to 104,000 of the poorest 1.3 million residents currently living without it. Under the new law, the federal government pays the full cost of Medicaid expansion for the first three years, and 90 percent of the cost after that. The governor said that he would end the expansion if it no longer made fiscal sense. Gov. Christie declined to establish a State-Run exchange to allow people to buy health insurance, insisting that the federal government do it. [8]

There are many hidden cost associated with health care for the uninsured. The un reimbursed hospital costs, spread of treatable illnesses, children illness, etc., these costs paid for by the taxpayers.

MCDWC supports the Affordable Care Act and a State-run Exchange to allow people to buy health insurance. 

We will

  1. Support Candidates who support the Affordable Care Act and a State-run Exchange. 

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

POLICY

Gov. Christie vetoed a bill that would have restored $7.5 million to family planning clinics that provide birth control and health screenings to thousands of uninsured women.[9]

Christie’s position on Planned Parenthood and women clinics are cost prohibitive; hospital care is more expensive and many women will delay seeking care resulting in more unhealthy women.

Educating voters about the Governor's true, current position is critical.  Reporters and TV personalities who are usually accurate, describe him as "pro-choice" but he is not. During these challenging fiscal times, we also need to educate both voters and politicians about the financial issues related to reproductive rights and health. Family planning has a documented history of saving public dollars - it is a genuinely good investment of public dollars, making it a "win-win", good for people and also good for the budget. We should not allow ideology to masquerade as a fiscal decision

Below are quotes from Gov. Christie on Abortion, Pro-Choice, and support for Planned Parenthood funding.

  • 1996: partial birth procedure is reprehensible. (Jun 2012)
  • 1994: Donated to Planned Parenthood; opposed public donation. (Jun 2012)
  • Pro-choice until seeing daughter pre-natally. (Jun 2012)
  • I'm pro-life with exceptions; take it or leave it. (Jun 2011)
  • Life is precious and should be protected. (Jun 2011)
  • "Default pro-choice" until hearing 13-week fetal heartbeat. (Jun 2011)
  • Pro-life; the life of every human being is precious. (Jul 2009)

MCDWC supports Reproduction Rights for Women through Roe v Wade, Pro-Choice, and funding for Planned Parenthood.

We will

  1. Support Candidates who support Reproduction Rights for Women through Roe v Wade, Pro-Choice, and funding for Planned Parenthood.
  2. Partner with organizations that support our position and educate the public on this issue. 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

POLICY

In New Jersey, there were 70,311 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2011.[10]

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 authorizes $2.2 billion to help victimized women and children seeking assistance to break the cycle of violence & live free from intimidation, fear, abuse, and exploitation.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ4) Voted against the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

The MCDWC support the Violence Against Women Act.

We support

  1. Candidates who support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. 

GUN CONTROL

POLICY

Statistics on Gun Ownership[11]

  • 40% of all US homes have guns
  • 81% of Americans say that gun control will be an important issue in determining which Congressional candidate to vote for.
  • 91% of Americans say that there should be at least minor restrictions on gun ownership;
  • 57% of Americans say that there should be major restrictions or a ban.

MCDWC support legislation that expands the background check system for gun sales.

We support

  1. Candidates who support legislation that expand the background check system for gun sales.

In conclusion, MCDWC will proactively support candidates aligned with our positions.  In order for democracy to flourish we all need to take responsibility and be a part of the solution, not the problem. If everyone participates in the political process and not just be a spectator we can undo a lot of the waste in government. Government is not the problem; unproductive people, inefficient policies, and at times corruption are the major problems we face in government. We need good and effective government now. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for all women, families, and citizens of Monmouth County New Jersey. We are women standing together to make difference in our community.

Please see On the Issues: Every Political Issue on Every Issue website athttp://www.ontheissues.org/Chris_Christie.htm to learn about the positions of our elected officials.



 [1]Holland, Bill, 2013. “Christie Seems Unwilling to Acknowledge that N.J. Jobs Crisis is Real.”  Newsroom New Jersey. http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/commentary/gov-christie-seems-unwilling-to-acknowledge-that-nj-jobs-crisis-is-real

[2]  Vogtman, Julie, 2013. “New Jersey Voters to Decide on Minimum Wage Increase.” National Women’s Law Center.  http://www.nwlc.org/our-blog/new-jersey-voters-decide-minimum-wage-increase

[3]  Gatta, Dr Mary and Besen-Cassino, Dr. Yasemin, 2010. “Gender Pay Gap in New Jersey: A Policy Report for the New Jersey American Association of University Women”, AAUWhttp://www.aauwnj.org/Updates/GenderPayGapNJ2010.pdf

[4] Gatta, Dr Mary and Besen-Cassino, Dr. Yasemin, 2010. “Gender Pay Gap in New Jersey: A Policy Report for the New Jersey American Association of University Women”, AAUW

[5] David G. Sciarra, ELC Executive Director, Education Law Center

http://www.edlawcenter.org

Zernike, Kate, 2013. Christie Says He’ll Take U.S. Money to Expand Medicaid. New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/nyregion/christie-backs-medicaid-help-from-federal-government.html?_r=0

 

[6] David G. Sciarra, ELC Executive Director, Education Law Center

http://www.edlawcenter.org

Associated Press, 2013. Few jabs at Gov. Christie's $32.9B budget, Asbury Park Press.http://www.app.com/viewart/20130305/NJNEWS10/303050056/Few-jabs-Gov-Christie-s-32-9B-budget

 

[7] Save our Schools NJ http://www.saveourschoolsnj.org/funding-formula/, http:www.edlaw.org

[8] Zernike, Kate, 2013. Christie Says He’ll Take U.S. Money to Expand Medicaid. New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/nyregion/christie-backs-medicaid-help-from-federal-government.html?_r=0

 

[9] Johnson, Brent, 2013. Christie target by pro-choice women’s group for his ‘appalling’ record, Star-Ledger.http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/christie_placed_on_notice_by_p.html

 

[10] Fabrikant, Mel, 2013. Rep. Pascrell Statement on Violence Against Women Act, The Paramus Post.http://www.paramuspost.com/article.php/20130302071454376

 

[11] Background on Gun Control, On the Issues, Every Political Issue on Every Issues http://www.ontheissues.org/Background_Gun_Control.htm

 

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