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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Women’s Issues Held at UMass Boston

Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Womens Issues Held at UMass Boston

On Thursday, May 9, 2002, five candidates for Massachusetts governor proclaimed their support for women’s issues in UMass Boston’s Lipke Auditorium. The event, broadcast live over AT&T channel 3 by AT&T Broadband, was sponsored by UMB’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and over 25 student and women’s groups, including the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Massachusetts NARAL, Massachusetts NOW, and the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

Candidates present were Carla Howell of the Libertarian Party and Tom Birmingham, Steve Grossman, Shannon O’Brien, and Warren Tolman, all of the Democratic Party. Robert Reich, Democratic candidate, and Mitt Romney of the Republican Party were invited. Reich was unable to attend, and Romney reportedly will not debate Democrats until after September’s primary elections.

Howell opened the forum, and began stressing that “small government is beautiful,” a slogan she repeated throughout the evening, during her opening remarks. Throughout the program, she reiterated her plan to eliminate income taxes in the state, which will help residents by increasing the standard of living and creating new jobs.

Tolman, a former state senator, stated that influenced by his mother and daughters, he plans to “further the aims of women,” citing that he has the “highest NOW rating of all the candidates,” and has voted against their position only once in eight years. His top priority is to ensure economic equality, which he plans to achieve by promoting pay equality and women-owned businesses.

Grossman emphasized economic security over the course of the forum. As a business owner, he has already helped to make a mark on this issue, stating, “Women have occupied senior leadership position for over 20 years in our company, half the top earners are women, and all women receive equal pay for equal work.” He also claimed that if elected as governor, he will push employer-assisted housing.

O’Brien, the state treasurer, pointed to her record of helping women to secure financial independence through her creation of the Money Conference for Women, which has helped 6,000 women learn to plan their financial futures. Her other priorities for women include implementation of a health agenda and promoting women’s involvement in public service.

“Anatomy is not destiny,” declared Senate President Birmingham, as he began his opening remarks. Throughout the evening, he pointed to his record of championing the highest minimum wage in the country and family leave programs. He also stated that he has been “consistently pro-choice, and has the political scars to show for it,” and “hasn’t just talked the talk,” he has “walked the walk.” At the end of the evening, he concluded, “If you want the greatest feminist governor in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I’m your man.”