COMMUNITY VOICES | Mother’s Day and the federal budget

When I was growing up, my single Mom worked hard as a minimum wage waitress at the local golf club to put food on the table for our family and to pay the mortgage. Mothers care about the well being and security of their families.   As a legislator and a grandmother of 18, I carried that concern as I proudly introduced and passed the Women’s Economic Security Act, a series of bills aimed at updating workplace policies that are holding women and their families back.  This Mother’s Day, we hope that Members of Congress are also thinking about their roles as caregivers and providers not only in their own homes, but for the nation as a whole.The federal budget which is made up of our tax dollars is an important blueprint for meeting the security needs in our communities. In Minnesota and in Congress, the budgets we craft allow us to have clean drinking water, public transportation, schools, law enforcement, paved roads and highways, and other essential services. Communities like ours rely on federal money to be safe, healthy, thriving and economically sound. Yet, Congress continues to allocate inordinate sums to the Pentagon and its programs, to the detriment of our national and economic security.More than half of the federal discretionary budget that Congress appropriates each year is taken up by the Pentagon. Continue Reading

Women at the tables of power leads to more sustainable peace

We are no strangers to conflict. Senator Torres Ray hails from Colombia, a country wracked by 45 years of civil war and drug violence, where every visit entails a certain risk. Senator Sandy Pappas has three daughters and seventeen grandchildren living in Northern Israel – just 30 miles from the Syrian border. So we both could relate to and were eager to meet with our colleagues from war torn countries through a partnership of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) Women Legislators Lobby (WiLL) and the EastWest Institute Parliamentarian Network for Conflict Prevention. Women political leaders from the east and west came together to advance women’s roles in building sustainable peace. Continue Reading

OPINION | Mother’s Day and the War Against Women

Mother’s Day seems like the time to talk about the anti-woman legislation proposed, passed and thankfully vetoed by Governor Dayton at the Minnesota Legislature.You may have heard about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. The corporations write up model laws and the legislative members dutifully go back to their state Capitols and pass them. But have you heard of the AUL, American United for Life? They also draft “model legislation” but their goal is to make abortion impossible or near impossible at the state level. They attempt to look very official and reasonable but, in reality, they want to “use our uteruses without our permission!”Here are some examples. Continue Reading