YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A crowd dubbing itself Women for Murphy gathered in Shrub Oak this weekend to back Terrence Murphy in his campaign for the 40th state Senate District. Group members explained why they feel Murphy is the best candidate to represent their interests but raised questions about his opponent's record on equal pay for equal work.
"My campaign is not just about empowering women, it's about more opportunity for everyone," Murphy said. "I'm proud to support the Senate's nine-point women's equality agenda and will sponsor pay equity legislation when I am elected in November."
The nine-point package Murphy supports guarantees equal pay for equal work and, among other provisions, enacts stronger protections against sexual harassment in the workplace, pregnancy discrimination and human trafficking. The group claims Murphy's opponent, Justin Wagner, continues to stall the passage of this legislation until extreme abortion measures are passed, including allowing nondoctors to perform abortions.
"Justin Wagner continues to play politics with women's equality while hiding the fact that his New York City law firm has made millions defending the nation's worst gender discriminators," said T.J. McCormack, a spokesperson for the Murphy campaign. "Just a few months ago, his law firm used legal loopholes to allow nationwide gender discrimination by one of his clients."
Wagner's law firm obtained a "significant dismissal" in one of the largest pay equity cases in American history, United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission vs. Sterling Jewelers Inc., according to Wagner's law firm's own website.
According to the Murphy campaign, Wagner's law firm sought to quash the EEOC's investigation, which found Sterling violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, meaning gender discrimination took place at Sterling and its subsidiaries from 2003-08, and was the result of purposeful company policies designed to deny opportunities to women due to their gender. The EEOC, a federal agency, said its investigation was "proper and thorough."
Murphy, a Yorktown Town Board member, says he has a history of supporting gender equality. He sponsored and passed a resolution earlier this year on Equal Pay Day, calling for equal pay for equal work.
"I tell my daughter that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything, and yet in New York state there is still a chance that she could receive less pay for the same amount of work, and that's unacceptable to me," he said.
"Looking at Terrence's family, I think is the best example of how he leads and lives his life," said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, who was at the rally with 50 other women. "We know Terrence Murphy supports the full Senate Women's Equality Agenda and will protect women from the dangerous proposals coming from the radical Working Families Party and their leader, Bill de Blasio."
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