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National NOW Times >> Fall 2012  >> Article

2012 Elections Crucial for Women: Vote Obama-Biden

Activists march against the war on women

Throughout 2012, NOW members and other women's rights activists took to the streets to protest the right wing's war on women and to promise to exercise their right to vote in November.

In July, the NOW Political Action Committee enthusiastically endorsed Barack Obama and Joe Biden for reelection in 2012. The president's actions supporting women's rights demonstrate that he is our pathway toward equality -- in stark contrast to the harsh anti-woman policies pushed by the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

The Tea Party extremists who flooded into Congress in 2010 have waged a relentless war on women, aiming to defund family planning clinics, block women's access to safe, medically appropriate abortion care, and even restrict birth control. The Romney-Ryan budget plan would disproportionately imperil women's economic security by devastating Medicare and Medicaid, cutting Social Security benefits and ripping into a wide range of social programs that disproportionately serve and employ women. Ryan even supported redefining rape and undermining the lifesaving Violence Against Women Act.

The silver lining to this dark cloud is that women are paying attention in ever larger numbers, giving us an opportunity for electoral gains in 2012.

A top priority for NOW/PAC is to keep the Senate out of the hands of the radical fringe that now controls the Republican Party. Feminist allies in Congress are running in tight races for open Senate seats: Representatives Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Shelley Berkley in Nevada, Mazie Hirono in Hawaii and Chris Murphy in Connecticut. Elizabeth Warren is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts currently held by Republican Scott Brown. If successful, Baldwin would be the first out LGBT person to serve in the Senate, and Mazie Hirono would be the first female senator of Asian descent.

Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1) and Dina Titus (NV-1), NOW/PAC- endorsed representatives who (sadly) lost in the bruising 2010 election, are running to recapture their House seats. We're optimistic about previously endorsed candidates who are running again in newly drawn districts and building on their name recognition and experience: disabled Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth (IL-8); longtime NOW member Lois Frankel (FL-22); physician and activist David Gill (IL-13) and grassroots organizer Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2).

We're also excited about two women of color running for the first time for the House: Val Demings (FL-8), Orlando's first female chief of police; and Grace Meng (NY-6), a rising star currently in the New York State Assembly. See all NOW/PAC endorsed candidates at nowpacs.org/2012.

NOW volunteers are spending their vacations, taking leave without pay and putting aside retirement plans to join NOW/PAC projects. Our teams will reinforce activists in Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Nevada, Wisconsin and Virginia. If you have a month, week, weekend or just Election Day to devote to helping elect women's rights champions, email elections@now.org. We'll help you make a valuable contribution to this crucial effort.

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