Right here in the 39th District, women contribute so much to our community, yet are constantly battling for equality. It is time that Congress protects women’s reproductive rights, provides equal access to healthcare by fully funding Planned Parenthood, and addresses gender inequality. Gil supports a woman’s right to choose and policies that protect women’s rights because he understands that a woman’s value expands far beyond her relationships to men. It is time that public policy finally reflects this essential truth. Gil and his wife Jacki will fight alongside women to stand up against any misguided and misleading attacks on the rights that women deserve. Gil supports enshrining the rights of women in the Constitution by passing the Equal Rights Amendment.
PROTECT A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE
Everywhere we turn, a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body is under attack. The Trump administration appointed a U.S. Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice who neither believe in a women’s right to choose nor support the monumental Supreme Court decisions that protect that right. Gil believes that decisions about a woman’s health are between her and her doctor. Gil believes it is imperative that Congress require insurers to cover birth control without a co-pay and protect providers and patients from intimidation or violence. In Congress, he will make sure that every woman in American can make the decision to visit a clinic without fear of any repercussion.
As a nation, we have worked hard to establish protections for reproductive health centers and the patients who rely on those centers. Thousands of women, men, and families across America benefit from reproductive health services and they should have the right to enter a clinic to receive services without harassment or intimidation. Gil supports the enforcement of longstanding legislation, such as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which allows the U.S. Attorney General to bring criminal penalties against anyone who interferes with patients entering one of the centers to receive services. The Trump Administration regularly supports rhetoric and policies that show a blatant disregard for the FACE Act and other protections of the kind. Gil and Jacki care about the women and men who benefit from the services provided by reproductive health centers and will ensure that those protections are enforced.
FIGHT FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD FUNDING
The last decade has seen some of the greatest advances in health care, but it is an uphill battle for women to gain access to that healthcare. Republicans are attempting to dismantle health laws and programs that have been put in place to protect American women. Funding for Planned Parenthood continues to be threatened and attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may remove key protections. Gil will not only defend the ACA protections, but he will fight to pass legislation that allows for full and continued funding for Planned Parenthood facilities.
For 100 years, Planned Parenthood facilities have provided access to essential healthcare services including cancer screening, STD testing, family planning, breast exams, and prenatal care. This access has been crucial to both women and men throughout the Nation. Planned Parenthood facilities serve nearly 5 million people in a single year with over 650 facilities. More than 80% of the annual funding is dedicated to medical services, client services, education, and outreach, and only 3% of those services include abortions. Defunding Planned Parenthood would mean millions of low-income individuals would be denied access to key health care services and hundreds of facilities could close down. Members of communities all around America rely on Planned Parenthood for these services; Gil will work to protect that critical funding to Planned Parenthood and oppose legislation that threatens this funding.
Beyond healthcare facilities, women need equal access to affordable health insurance. The passage of the ACA marked, for the first time, a ban on gender discrimination in the health insurance market. Under the ACA, women could no longer be charged more than men for health coverage in the individual market. This includes prohibiting coverage providers from charging extra for preventative health services, like mammograms, and classifying pregnancy as a “pre-existing condition.” Gil and Jacki know the value of these protections and will ensure that Congress never repeals a woman’s health care rights.
Women face many economic issues, from the glass ceiling to the floor of poverty. Gil is committed to supporting legislation that promotes welfare reform, livable wages, job discrimination, pay equity, access to housing, pension reform, and much more. Gil will fight to secure equal pay for women, which will benefit all women and their families. While Donald Trump thinks it is dangerous for women to leave the home and believes paid family leave hurts our economy, Gil will stand up and fight for legislative action on a national family and medical leave act. Equality in pay, job opportunities, political structure, social security and education are all issues that Gil will continue to fight for in Congress.
GENDER WAGE GAP
The motherhood penalty is a major barrier to closing the gender wage gap. When women become mothers, they tend to suffer financially. Despite the gains women have made in the labor force in recent decades, their wages continue to lag behind men’s. This disparity is due to stereotypical gender norms, childcare responsibilities, bias, and limited access to male networks. To close the gender gap, we need to reshape how we approach motherhood in the workplace, and we need to support parents through paid family leave and affordable child care.
In Congress, Gil would be a co-sponsor of H.R. 947, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). This plan would support working parents with up to 66 percent of their wages, up to a capped amount, for 12 weeks after childbirth, severe personal injury or family medical emergency. The FAMILY Act would be funded through employee and employer payroll contributions. Paid leave would help new parents keep their families on track to meet new expenses. Following a birth, mothers who take paid leave are more likely than those who take no paid leave to stay in the workforce and more likely to report wage increases. Gil believes it is unacceptable for the United States to be the only developed nation that has not designated formal paid leave for new mothers.
In addition to paid family leave, Gil believes parents should have access to high quality, publicly funded child care. In Congress, Gil will support H.R. 3773, the Child Care for Working Families Act. This bill would establish a new federal-state partnership to provide high-quality, affordable child care through age 13, and more than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance in a quality program. This bill would produce more jobs, provide people working in child care a living wage, and allow parents to either work or work more. Reducing child care costs and increasing child care availability increases employment among parents, primarily among mothers and those from low-income families
Women are 16 times more likely to be killed by guns in America than in other developed countries. At least 52 percent of American women killed by guns are victims of an intimate partner or family member.
In Congress, Gil would support H.R. 2670, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, which would strengthen federal law protecting victims of domestic violence and stalking by expanding the current definition of intimate partners to include those who are dating. This would prohibit abusers with temporary restraining orders filed against them from purchasing a firearm, and adding those convicted of stalking to the list of those prohibited from purchasing firearms.
The #MeToo Movement has empowered survivors to speak out about their sexual harassment and assault stories. As more survivors continue to show tremendous courage and speak up, we must hold those at the top accountable and work to change the culture of harassment in the workplace, in government, and in our culture. As a former Diversity and Inclusion Officer in charge of administering harassment training in the Navy and a strong supporter of Joe Biden’s “It’s On Us” campaign, this is an issue that Gil takes seriously.
Gil believes politicians should work in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation that seeks to prevent sexual assault in educational spaces and in the workplace. Gil believes legislation should be put in place that protects everyone, including individuals from marginalized communities who are too afraid to speak up because they fear retaliation.
In Congress, Gil will champion an overhaul of the House of Representatives Office of Compliance and the process through which they settle sexual harassment claims. He will fight for public disclosure of such claims and the elimination of mandatory cooling-off periods for victims seeking to report sexual misconduct in the House of Representatives. Gil will support legislation that provides clarity for schools and students regarding what schools are required to do under Title IX to prevent and respond to sexual harassment, including sexual violence. Gil will also support legislation that would improve procedures for investigating complaints of sexual harassment by congressional employees.
WOMEN OF COLOR
Gil understands that racism inflicts a double burden on women of color and that they can often be left out of the conversation on women’s rights. In Congress, Gil is committed to fighting for equal opportunities for women of color in all areas, including employment, education and reproductive rights. Women of color are disproportionately impacted by discriminatory pay practices, and in Congress Gil will combat the discrimination they face on and off the job.
Women of color have had to constantly fight for the right to have children and the right to choose. They have been policed and marginalized through welfare reform, immigration laws, and racialized myths about their bodies and sexuality. This has often prevented women of color from having children on their own terms, making it difficult for them to access child care, access paid sick leave, and to raise their children as they see fit. The Trump administration has only exacerbated their problem through efforts to cut Medicaid by more than $600 billion, cut welfare programs by $270 billion, cut teen pregnancy prevention programs by $214 million, and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This has put at risk women of color’s reproductive autonomy and the ability of their families to succeed. Gil will support legislation that increases investments to expand high-quality, affordable child care to every eligible working family with young children. Gil will fight to ensure access to quality health care for all, without discrimination, including timely and appropriate care for mothers. Gil will also supports the rights of women of color to decide how they give birth as parents. While medical reasons may compel doctors to sometimes intervene, women should always maintain control over their childbirth and delivery.
We need to inspire girls in our country and support women, not discriminate based on sex or gender identity. Promoting a diverse and fair workforce will only contribute to economic growth. In Congress, Gil will fight for women’s rights and promote the welfare of all women. Gil will fight to expand opportunity for women, he will confront violence against women, push for pro-family policies, and defend a woman’s right to control her own body.