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Wendy Davis campaigns in SETX
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
Gubernatorial candidate for the Democratic Party Wendy Davis courted women voters in Southeast Texas today. Supporters rallied at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' Hall in Beaumont. Davis will face-off with Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott in November.
Texas Senator Wendy Davis's main message for her supporters Friday, was that Texas needs an equal pay act for women. Davis brought up a bill she co-sponsored last year, the Texas Equal Pay Act, or the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act. It mirrors a federal equal pay act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Governor Rick Perry vetoed the Texas bill after it passed the house and senate.
The Texas Labor Code prohibits sex discrimination, but Davis says women need more protection, and if she becomes governor she will sign a Texas equal pay act into state law. Supporters filled the room at IBEW Hall where Davis spoke.
"I believe that with your help, I will be the person who's selected to be your next governor," said Davis as the audience applauded.
During her speech, she pushed income equality for Texas women and criticized Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.
"In an interview last Sunday, he was asked if he would have vetoed Representative Thompson's equal pay bill as Governor Rick Perry did. Abbott refused to answer the question," said Davis.
Davis says Texas women are paid 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.
"While I know there are many wonderful companies who are working hard to assure that women are paid equally," said Davis, "we know that it is still a commonplace practice that women are being underpaid and when they're underpaid it doesn't just hurt them, it hurts the family income that they contribute to."
The candidate for governor mentioned another women's issue, the closing of women's health clinics across Texas.
"That were providing family planning, and breast cancer screenings, and uterine screenings, all closed, and over 160 thousand women lost the only access to healthcare that they knew," said Davis. "We need to reverse that and as governor I will make sure that we do."
Clinics that provided abortions and couldn't meet new state abortion regulations.
"And when we remove access to constitutionally protected healthcare, women will seek other alternatives," said Davis.
Davis also spoke about strengthening Texas's education system. She supports increasing pay for Texas teachers to the national average, and offering a pre-Kindergarten education for every four-year-old. Davis also wants to "increase college access."
"In Texas, my commitment is that we will double our early college high schools across this state in the next four years," said Davis, "and that we will also significantly increase the number of dual credit courses that are offered in our high schools."
Members from Lamar University's Feminist Club attended the campaign rally.
"As a president of the Feminists of Lamar we're really excited," said Shelby Murphy. "We loved what she talked about, we think her speech about the pay equality act was very important and it's very pertinent to this area."
"I mean, she's truly here to help Texans out and get us into the place that we should be, get us into the 21st century," said the Savannah Anderson-Bledsoe, the vice president of the club.
After Davis's speech and a meet-and-greet, her campaign, Battleground Texas, held a presentation to recruit campaign volunteers.
Greg Abbott and his campaign stopped in Beaumont this February.