Gubernatorial candidate Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spent Wednesday morning speaking to media and volunteers at Café Mayapan, in El Paso, Texas. She focused her discussion on gender and economic equality.
El Paso Sen. Jose Rodriguez and Rep. Marisa Marquez, both Democrats, introduced Davis.
Davis spoke about Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, and wage disparities within his office.
“When he was first asked about it two weeks ago, he dodged the question,” Davis said in her speech. “He seemed to say that he supported the concept of equal pay, but I’ve never heard of a concept that could pay the rent or put food on the table or put gasoline in your truck.”
According to Davis, women in Abbott’s office make 74 cents for every dollar that a man earns for the same position. This is less than the state average pay difference for women—who make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns.
State statistics show that Hispanic women, earn even less: 45 cents for every dollar a man earns according to the Center for American Progress.
Davis believes current Texas laws do not protect women and minorities from inequality and said Abbott has not supported laws such as the federal Fair Pay Act of 2009 and the Texas Equal Pay bill.
“This is the very legislation that would help his employees address the fact that they’re getting paid less than co-workers for doing the same message,” Davis said.
After the speech, Davis addressed questions regarding voter ID laws, immigration reform and women’s health.
In an interview after Davis’s speech, Marquez said this was an opportunity for El Pasoan’s to express concerns.
“It’s an opportunity for us to express ourselves as a community and say ‘these things are important to us and we’d like to see these types of changes in the governor’s office, in the state and to support those things,’” Marquez said.
Marquez said she and Davis came into the state Capitol the same year and have worked together on legislation having to do with women who were incarcerated and women’s health.
“We have a history with Wendy here on the borderland, working with her on issues and we want to continue to support her in her campaign for governor,” Marquez said.
Davis’ speech moved Isabel Haight, senior pre-business major, to tears.
Haight stood behind Davis on stage during the speech representing the College of Business Administration, the Women’s Business Association and the Small Business Association at EPCC.
Haight hopes to move policy makers to further economic development in El Paso. She is concerned with equal commerce and access for women.
“I talked to her (Davis) about women’s issues, how a single mom suffers when everything is shut down,” she said. “Social responsibility is not addressed as it should.”
Gubernatorial elections take place November 4. An early March poll by Rasmussen Reports shows Abbott leading by 12 points.
Jasmine Aguilera and Maria Esquinca may be reached at [email protected]