Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lilly Ledbetter endorsement

Richmond, VA – Lilly Ledbetter, the Alabama woman whose fight for equal pay led her to the United States Supreme Court and inspired the 2007 fair pay legislation that bears her name, announced her support for the Obama-Biden campaign today. At a working women's economic roundtable discussion hosted by Michelle Obama, in Richmond, Ledbetter shared her story of fighting for equal pay for equal work, and why she's supporting Senator Obama, the only presidential candidate in this election who voted in favor of her bill.

"There is only one candidate who has stood up for women like me. Who has consistently fought to help women who are working hard every day for our families and aren't being paid fairly," said Ledbetter. "That's why I'm proud to endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States. The priorities of the Obama-Biden ticket are clear. Senator Obama and Senator Biden will stand up for families like mine."

Michelle Obama hosted today's roundtable to discuss the real life challenges women have faced through eight years of failed economic policies that have today left our country in the midst of a financial crisis. Today's event highlighted the clear choice that working women and their families have in this year's election to start building a better world for American families, and the need for a president who understands the struggles middle class families are facing and is in touch with the needs of hardworking American families.

Mrs. Obama heard from Lilly Ledbetter, Virginia First Lady Anne Holton and three Virginia women who shared their experiences struggling to support their families over the last eight years, in an economy that supports special interests at the expense of middle-class families. Mrs. Obama talked about her husband's history of fighting for working families – not big corporations and special interests – and his plans to rebuild the economy so it works for American families.

"We have a choice to make. And when I look at the two candidates' plans for America's future, and when I think about all the families I've met across the country, and the kind of help they could use right now – the choice is clear," said Mrs. Obama. "Barack is the only candidate in this election who has built his economic plan around the middle class, by giving a tax cut to 95 percent of all working Americans, rewarding companies that create jobs in America, and ensuring that women are paid fairly for our work. As I see it, that's the choice we face in this election. We can choose to start building that better world. And that begins with understanding what's really happening with America's families," she continued.

Today's events are part of the Obama-Biden campaign's "Women for the Change We Need" week, which kicked-off on Monday, with the announcement of the support of hundreds of national women leaders in fields ranging from business to women's rights, from astronauts to athletes, from former governors to cabinet secretaries. On Tuesday, Senator Obama received the endorsement from National Organization of Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) and the Feminist Majority PAC – the first Feminist Majority presidential endorsement of a presidential campaign without a woman on the ticket.

This week, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are traveling the country discussing the issues that women and families are concerned about –like equal pay for equal work, the right to make your own family planning choices, and the challenge of balancing the family budget in the face of skyrocketing energy and healthcare costs.

Wednesday evening, Senator Hillary Clinton will join Joe Biden for a national webcast with tens of thousands of women across the country to talk about the issues facing women voters in this election. Also Wednesday, Democratic women of the House of Representatives are holding a major press conference to talk about what's at stake for women in this election. Senator Obama will host a rally with women in Miami, FL Friday, while Senator Biden and his wife, Jill will host a women's rally in Leesburg, VA where they will be joined by Senator Barbara Mikulski. Over the weekend women leaders will be joining with Obama supporters to hold women's events in all 50 states. To find an event in your state, click here.

This afternoon, Mrs. Obama will host a Virginia Women for Obama Voter Registration rally in Charlottesville, where she will be joined by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Democratic vice presidential nominee, Senator Joe Biden. She will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday for an economic roundtable discussion with North Carolina women.

Mrs. Obama began this series of discussions with working women early in the primary season to hear firsthand their stories and experiences struggling to support their families in an imbalanced economy. At roundtables across the country, Mrs. Obama has shared her perspective on her husband's commitment to move our country in a new direction, and put the needs of middle-class families first.