I have given a number of speeches since the #MeToo stories started popping up on social media and since the powerful men started falling down. People regularly ask me about the Arizona efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Now, they also are asking me about sexual harassment in government.
My younger naive self experienced workplace sexual harassment perpetrated by much older men. Like Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, I made my own #MeToo post on Facebook, but mine focused on men from my past– not on men in the Arizona Legislature.
The Arizona House Democrats made history on April 27, 2017. Through a ninja parliamentary procedure, we forced members of the Arizona House of Representatives to voice their opinion on equal rights for women and, specifically, on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
I made a motion for immediate third reading of HCR2012 ratification; equal rights amendment, which temporarily caused muted chaos at the dais. ERA backers in the Democratic Caucus had conferred with the rules attorneys and the Clerk in advance of the motion; so, we knew we were on solid parliamentary grounds.
Predictably, Speaker J.D. Mesnard offered a substitute amendment to recess, which stopped the up-or-down vote on the ERA. Democrats had anticipated this move on the chess board. By calling for a roll call vote on the substitute amendment, everyone opposed to the up-or-down vote on the ERA was put on record as stopping the vote. (Watch video clip of the motion, the quiet chaos that ensued, Mesnard’s motion, and my speech here. It will start automatically after a pause.)
During the vote explanation exercise, nearly every Democrat and several Republicans stood up and gave their opinion on the ERA, equal rights for women, equal pay for equal work, equal protection for women under the Constitution, the nuances of Article V of the Constitution, and the reasons why American women need the ERA (or not).
“I want to clarify that a vote for this substitute amendment to recess is really an up-or-down vote on the Equal Rights Amendment, ” I started.
“The Equal Rights Amendment is a simple, one-sentence statement: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.
“Members, there is a dramatic wage gap in the US between men and women. You may have heard the statistics that overall women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Over a lifetime that translates to a $500,000 in lost wages for the average working woman. The wage gap has narrowed only 13 cents per hour since 1980, I continued.
After five house parties, nine days of library tabling, regular canvassing on our bikes, dozens of meetings, soirees, and dinners, and several community events– like Labor Day, Pride in the Desert, the Martin Luther King Jr March, the Peace Fair, Cyclovia, the Foothills Forum, the Tanque Verde Democrats Women Candidates’ Forum, Udall Dinner, and the Garden District Porch Fest— I am proud to say that the Pamela Powers Hannley for House team has met and talked with hundreds of residents of LD9. In the process, the team collected roughly double the number of required signatures and an ample number of Clean Elections Qualifying Contributions to get on the ballot.
Can I get a high 5?
We delivered everything to the Secretary of State’s office in Tucson on Friday, May 27, 2016. The official count from the SOS was 767. Here is a link to the full list of Legislative candidates. Unfortunately, many people who should have Democratic Party opponents don’t. 😦
The campaign will be moving into phase II, focusing on the primary race. As you know, there are three of us Dems– the incumbent, the appointee, and me— running for the two LD9 Arizona House seats. The two Dems who survive the primary election on August 30 will face Tea Party Republican Ana Henderson on November 8. It is interesting to note that the two women are Clean Elections candidates, and the two guys are running privately funded campaigns.
The beginning of a New Year is often a time for transitions.
On Monday, January 4, 2016, I will make a major life transition as I step down from my 11-year position as Managing Editor for The American Journal of Medicine. Beginning in 2016, I will be working part-time as the Journal’s Social Media/Technology Editor, managing the blog, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts, as well as writing occasional editorials, like this one in the January issue.
Why am I voluntarily leaving a great job? Because I want to work for the people of Arizona in the Legislature, and I am willing to put the work in to get elected. This transition will allow me to dedicate more time to my campaign for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9. This is the seat currently held by Rep. Victoria Steele, who is challenging CD2 Rep. Martha McSally for Congress in 2016.
Rumors have been swirling around Tucson about a few men who want to be appointed to this seat, but none of these would-be appointees has a campaign registered with the Secretary of State. I established my campaign before Labor Day and have been workin’ it ever since.