Applauding him for his tireless work on behalf of women everywhere, the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) endorsed Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak's bid to unseat Arlen Specter in the Senate Democratic primary this May. He is pictured with PA NOW President Joanne Tosti-Vasey at his Pittsburgh Field Office.
"The National Organization for Women Political Action Committee is proud and excited to endorse such a strong candidate for the United States Senate and I am proud to support that endorsement," Pennsylvania NOW President Joanne Tosti-Vasey said at Joe's Pittsburgh office today. "He has been a leader in the struggle to achieve full equality for women and girls and we looking forward to working with him both in this campaign and then in the US Senate."
She applauded Joe for his strong advocacy for equality as a member of the House of Representatives, including his support of the Equal Rights Amendment and full rights for all civil marriages. Tosti-Vasey also commended Joe for standing up for a women's right to choose by voting against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the healthcare reform bill last year as well as co-sponsoring many bills like the Mammogram and MRI Availability Act of 2009 to support women's health.
"The National Organization for Women's PAC is extremely enthusiastic about him," Terry O'Neill, Chair of the NOW PAC and President of NOW, said prior to today's event. "The way for us to move the women's equality agenda forward is to support Congressman Sestak."
The National Organization for Women is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States with over 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters across the country. Founded in1966, NOW is a powerful voice for women on the national stage, fighting to eliminate discrimination in the workplace, end violence against women and ensure full access to healthcare.
"I'm excited to receive the endorsement of NOW/PAC," said Joe. "For more than forty years, this organization has been fighting to ensure women are treated as equals in our society, and I am honored to have their support. Though we have made great strides toward gender equity, there is much more work to be done. I have an eight-year-old daughter, and like all daughters, she deserves to grow up in a world where women have access to the same rights and benefits as men, and as your next U.S. Senator, I will help make sure they will."
As a member of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee, Joe has advocated for making sure every woman's access to healthcare is protected. He co-sponsored legislation to provide for the reduction of adolescent pregnancy, HIV rates and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well co-sponsoring and passing the Women Veterans Healthcare Improvement Act to end barriers to health care encountered by women former service members.
Tosti-Vasey further applauded Joe's commitment to fighting for the rights of working women. An original co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, he has also introduced legislation to broaden business opportunities for women. His Small Business Entrepreneurial Development Programs Act and the SBA Trade Programs Act both provide critical resources to Women Business Development Centers.
Last month, Joe rolled out his Gender Equity Act of 2010, which aims to address challenges of gender inequity based on the policy recommendations of the Center for American Progress's glass-shattering "Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything." The legislation includes measures to adopt fair paid leave practices, provide support for domestic violence victims, end maternity discrimination and stop caps on gender discrimination damages.
"Having come from a big family, with six sisters, I can tell you that the world we're living in is changing for the better because of the leadership and accomplishments of so many women like them," said Joe. "With this legislation, we can take the movement toward gender equity -- in and out of the workplace -- further than we've seen in a long time."