Democratic View: Connecticut’s women deserve a strong advocate

Unsurprisingly, I am a supporter of women, children and families. What may surprise you is how many financial, safety and healthcare issues affecting women come before the state legislature every year. Basic matters of everyday life, such as access to contraception, a woman’s right to choose, hate crimes/discrimination, domestic abuse, paid family leave, and the minimum wage are regularly addressed by the legislature.

How your state representative votes (or doesn't vote/show up) has an impact on women and their families.

Connecticut does not guarantee paid family leave (HB 5387), which provides parents like me the opportunity to care for our families without risking our livelihoods. Your state representative should lobby for this bill and ensure it passes. So far, he hasn’t. If I am elected, you’ll have an advocate for this family-friendly bill. I’ll vote yes.

We bemoan the fact that younger workers are not choosing Connecticut first, yet the legislature (and our state representative) vote “no” on a $15 minimum wage. Young workers struggling to pay student loans (often in two jobs) and women are more likely to be hourly wage earners. We can attract or keep younger workers, improve families’ economic health and boost Connecticut’s economic and fiscal positions if we pass this bill.

I will be a fighter for a woman’s right to choose, guaranteed access to contraception and safety from gun violence. Our current state representative voted against providing access to emergency contraception for rape victims and voted against guaranteeing insurance coverage for contraception. He also voted against HB 5054, which requires accused abusers to temporarily surrender their firearms when a restraining order is issued, repeatedly defending that vote with debunked statements. That’s not where I stand.

When given the opportunity to vote “yes” on bills making “affirmative consent” on Connecticut college campuses the standard in cases of rape or harassment, our state representative was one of a handful of legislators absent from the roll call. I will show up for bills such as these. I will work to introduce stronger protections against domestic abuse and fight any attempt to restrict women’s health care and choice.

Fifty-two percent of Ridgefield’s population is female. The 2018 Connecticut House of Representatives included 39 women, near the bottom nationally among state legislatures, (only six states have fewer women legislators than Connecticut). The “old boys’ networks” remain insulated from and inattentive to major economic and social issues that strike women first and hardest. Studies demonstrate that women in government are effective at bipartisan compromises and are more likely to legislate in ways that improve the lives of women, seniors, children and families.

I think women in Ridgefield deserve a strong, new voice in the state legislature. One that isn’t connected to the power brokers in Washington, D.C. or Hartford. One who will stand up for them, their children and families first. I will be your voice and your champion in Hartford should you elect me on Nov. 6.

Aimee Berger-Girvalo is the Democratic candidate for the 111th General Assembly District.

The Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee provides this column.