Rep. Stephanie Chang to lead the caucus; additional officers named
LANSING — State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) has been elected to serve as chairwoman of the Progressive Women’s Caucus, a group of bicameral Lansing legislators committed to fighting for equal pay, paid sick leave, equal access to affordable health care and other critical issues affecting women and their families. Other leaders elected include state Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) as vice chairwoman, state Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) as secretary and state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit) as treasurer.
“I am honored to be chosen to lead the Progressive Women’s Caucus along with our other new officers and I want to thank Rep. Winnie Brinks for her tremendous leadership of the caucus last term,” said Chang. “Now more than ever, it’s important that women have a strong voice in Lansing and around the state as we advocate for legislation to support women and their families throughout Michigan and fight back against attacks on women’s health and well-being. I am eager to get to work with my colleagues to do what is best and right for all Michigan women and lift up the voices of women across the state.”
The Progressive Women’s Caucus will be instrumental in advancing legislation that will close the wage gap, ensure that workers can earn paid sick leave so that they can take care of themselves and their family members without the risk of losing their jobs, address domestic violence and sexual assault on campus and in our communities, ensure women can affordably address all their health care needs, and help their families achieve financial security. The PWC includes female Democratic legislators in the House and Senate.
“As members of the Progressive Women’s Caucus, we work on legislation that benefits women at all stages of their lives,” said Geiss. “Access to healthcare, job security and education are among the things that are critically important to women’s economic security. I look forward to getting to work with my colleagues on these important issues.”
The political climate has led to the passage of highly restrictive laws regarding women’s access to health care services. This access is facing growing uncertainty with actions at the federal level to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Progressive Women’s Caucus acknowledges that healthcare is as much of an economic issue as pay equity. In Michigan, women earn 75 cents to each dollar earned by men with the same professional and academic experience. This new leadership team is prepared to continue advocating against these discrepancies at every level.
“It’s 2017 — women who do the same jobs and same work as their male counterparts should take home the same amount of money in their paycheck,” said Lasinski. “We’re clearly not there yet, so we must continue to push to close the gap not only for every Michigan woman working today, but also for our sisters, daughters and nieces who will one day join the work force. Michigan will have a stronger and more booming economy when we are all payed what we have actually earned.”
“The Progressive Women’s Caucus works to make our state and communities a better place for all Michigan women so they can reach their potential,” said Love. “We can’t be a great and welcoming state if we don’t treat Michigan women as equals. I am ready to work with the members of the Progressive Women’s Caucus and all my legislative colleagues on tackling the issues that will make Michigan better for women and their families.”
“As the chair of the PWC for the last two years, one of my goals has been to expand the influence of the women serving in the legislature,” said state Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). “We are few in number, so it’s more important than ever to promote talented female leaders and ensure we have a meaningful voice in the halls of power in our state. Representative Chang’s commitment to the women and families of our state is unmatched. I look forward to working closely with Representative Chang to ensure this important work of the PWC continues.”