Gillibrand says elevating women’s voices is top goal

DES MOINES — This past weekend Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand wrapped up a three-day visit to the state that featured an endorsement from the former Iowa Senate GOP staffer who won a seven-figure sexual harassment settlement from the state. Kirsten Anderson said the New York Senator is the “real deal” candidate needed to face-off against President Trump in 2020.

Gillibrand said she wants to focus the campaign debate on how the country values women.

“When you empower women to be heard across the board, whether it’s running for congress or speaking their truth, you’re going to change the national conversation,” Gillibrand said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “…I’ve been working on elevating women’s voices in the economy and in society across the board.”

Gillibrand has worked with Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst on combating sexual abuse in the military. Gillibrand has argued allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct should be handled outside the chain of command.

“When it comes to sexual harassment and sexual violence, it’s a very clear case of not valuing women — degrading them, demeaning them and devaluing them,” Gillibrand said. “It’s equally as important to make sure we have a national leave, just because there’s a family emergency whether it’s an ill spouse, a dying parent or a new baby.”

Gillibrand links her support for universal preschool with other economic issues she says women care about, like pregnancy discrimination, age discrimination and what Gillibrand describes as “flat out” gender discrimination.

“We certainly see it very dramatically in the amount of pay that women receive for the same work that a man might do and if you’re a woman of color, the discrimination’s even worse,” Gillibrand said. “You will likely receive less money if you’re a black woman or a Latino in America than even a white woman, all of whom are receiving far less than a white man.”

Gillibrand has co-sponsored a bill with another Republican in the U.S. Senate to make child care a business expense as individuals and couples file their income taxes. She’s proposed new tax incentives for businesses willing to provide on-site day care. Gillibrand said that would help rural Americans, in particular, who don’t have many child care options.