Three candidates for Governor under Vermont’s golden dome debated women’s issues on Thursday.
“Issues that aren’t just important to women,” says Democrat Sue Minter. “They are important to our families and they are important to our economy.”
One issue to come up was tackling the wage gap.
“I support equal pay for equal work, and that’s because some of the strongest people in my life have been strong, independent women,” says Republican Phil Scott.
Minter says it’s time Vermont raised its minimum wage to a livable one, eventually to $15 dollars an hour.
“In Vermont, 43 percent of women who work full time still can’t make their basic needs,” says Minter.
Liberty Union candidate and retired Red Sox Pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee was also in attendance. He touted an even higher wage benchmark.
“37 is a good number, I wore it my whole career, and I come from a group of strong women,” says Lee.
Minter says women shouldn’t have to choose between work and caring for their children and she wants to require paid family leave.
“I am going to be working with Vermont businesses and employees to create a state-administered insurance program so everyone can have access to paid family leave.”
“I agree, no one should have to choose between caring for their family and making a living in Vermont,” says Scott.
He says businesses would need time to absorb the new costs.
“I think the idea of a new insurance option has merit, as long as it’s voluntary, and helps make Vermont more affordable,” says Scott.
But all three candidates could agree, it’s time women and men are equal.
“It’s impossible to be a dad today and not see there there is still work to do,” says Scott.
“We need to change this story, we need to do better,” says Minter.
The forum was hosted by by several women’s organization, including the League of Women Voters of Vermont and the Vermont Commission on Women.