HARTFORD, CT — There are a record number of female candidates running for office in Connecticut this year. Of the 243 grants clean election grants awarded this year, 101 went to female candidates.
But will that mean more women will win elected office? That won’t be clear until Nov. 7.
However, it’s fair to say Connecticut women will have an impact on which candidates are elected up and down the ballot.
In race for U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012 and the race for governor in 2014 women made the difference. Female voters denied Linda McMahon a Senate seat in 2010 and 2012, and they contributed to Republican Tom Foley’s gubernatorial defeat in 2014.
A Quinnipiac University poll from Nov. 3, 2014 found Gov. Dannel P. Malloy leading Foley 53 – 38 percent among women, meanwhile Foley was leading Malloy 51 – 41 percent among men. Malloy ended up winning by more than 28,000 votes.
“This is the year of the woman and not just because influx of women running for office,” said Maddie Granato, a policy associate for the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund. “More women are paying attention and advocating for policy change.”
“This election cycle is pivotal for women and their families across our state,” Kate Farrar, executive director of CWEALF, said.“Policies that advance the economic security of women are critical to the well-being and prosperity of our state’s economy. Women in our state and across the nation won’t wait any longer for policies such as paid leave, pay equity, and protections from sexual harassment at work. Now, it’s time to use our ballots to elect candidates who commit to take action on these common-sense solutions.”
The guide outlines the public policy issues the General Assembly has failed to enact over the past few years.
From paid Family and Medical Leave to pay equity and sexual harassment training the voter guide highlights the issues it thinks voters should ask the candidates and provides background for candidates looking to understand the issues.
Of the three issues highlighted by the guide only pay equity passed the General Assembly this year and was signed into law.
The law prohibits employers from asking about an individual’s previous salary or compensation package.
However, CWEALF argues that pay equity also means an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Research from the Economic Policy Institute indicated that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 would give one-third of all working women a raise, including 37 percent of working women of color,” the guide states.
Connecticut’s minimum wage is at $10.10 an hour and legislation to increase it has run into opposition.
For at least the past four years, Connecticut has failed to pass paid Family and Medical Leave and is now surrounded by states with paid FMLA policies. The most recent was signed into law by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts.
The paid FMLA legislation Connecticut has been unable to pass would require all private sector employees to contribute 0.5 percent of their paycheck to a fund that they could then use if they needed to take leave. The leave could last up to 12 weeks and the pay would be capped at up to $1,000 per week.
The bill passed through two committees earlier this year, but never got called for a vote.
All 151 seats in the House and 36 seats in the Senate are up for re-election.
The guide also includes vote tallies on the issues from the 2018 legislative session.
According to CWEALF the guide provides the necessary tools and talking points for voters to share their stories and ask candidates their stance on women’s economic security.