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Schauer to push for equal pay, job protections for women

By Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 24--LANSING -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer said Wednesday that the 2016 general election is going to hinge on the votes from women.

So he gathered a dozen or so female lawmakers, activists and professionals, traveled to the Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame building in Lansing and laid out his agenda for issues of importance to women.

"These are things that we've fought for our entire career," he said. "It's time to get our priorities straight, and time that we get our economy working for women and mothers."

His plan includes:

-- Restoring the $600-per-family child tax credit eliminated under Gov. Rick Snyder.

-- Passing equal-pay-for-equal-work laws, including adding equal-pay language to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

-- Expanding sick leave to a guaranteed 40 paid hours per year and three months of unpaid leave time for people who are sick or need to care for a sick family member.

-- Establishing job protections for pregnant women, including transfer to a less hazardous or strenuous job if a doctor recommends.

-- Promising to veto any legislation that restricts access to birth control and reproductive health care, including abortion. And repealing the law that requires women to buy an additional rider to their insurance policies if they want abortion coverage in their health insurance.

"Rick Snyder and the Republicans in the Legislature have been waging a war on women since the day they took office," said Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. "But there's one thing they haven't taken away from us, and that's our vote.

"We're going to make our vote count in November."

Schauer's announcement this week comes on top of a poll released last week by EPIC-MRA in Lansing that showed the gap between Snyder and Schauer tightening to a 46%-43% margin for Snyder overall, but Schauer leading among women by a 47%-41% margin.

Emily Benavides, spokeswoman for Snyder's campaign, said the governor's record is clear.

"We have 250,000 more private-sector jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in years," she said. "Four thousand new, women-owned small businesses have been created since the governor took office. It's clear that the policies of Gov. Snyder have created a climate that is helping all Michiganders."

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Contact Kathleen Gray: 517-372-8661, or on Twitter @michpoligal


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