What We Women Want

Renee Ellmers

7/25/2014 9:30:00 AM - Renee Ellmers

Just the other day when I was home in Dunn, a woman standing in the checkout line told me that she felt as though she had less money in her pocket. And, unfortunately, she’s right. Did you know that the average clothing cost for children has risen $310 during the president’s term and that food costs have risen an average of $210? Or that an average family of four is missing as much as $1,120 from their monthly budget? I bet women do.

No one understands the true implications of these missing dollars better than women. Women are the ones balancing the household checkbook, worrying about health care and education decisions for their families, and are the ones sitting at the kitchen table at the end of the month crunching numbers to figure out how to cut costs so the dollars don’t run out before the month does. I understand this because I have done this – and still do. Having worked at the local Burger King during high school, and then paying my way through community college and nursing school, I can relate to the pressures that women feel.

Women talk to me every day about the situations they face at work and home, and how they want a government that works to find solutions. My colleagues and I want to work together for solutions too. Our goal is to empower and engage every woman in this country, regardless of political-leaning or socioeconomic status. We are aware of the facts. The sad fact is that for every job the White House boasts about creating, two new people were added to the food stamp program. Additionally, if we were to factor in the number of people who have given up looking for work, real unemployment would be an astounding 10.2 percent. This is inexcusable. Our job is fighting to create good-paying jobs, grow a healthy economy and help hardworking Americans keep more of their paycheck.

So what are we doing in the House to resolve this? House Republicans are passing legislation with our Democrat colleagues to create jobs and get Americans back to work. There are currently 321 bills that have passed in the House of Representatives, yet still await action in the Senate. Just this past week, the House took up several bills to improve educational access and affordability for young Americans—providing higher-ed opportunities to support families and spur economic growth. To further tackle the issue of unemployment, the House passed legislation called the SKILLS Act which helps workers to acquire the education and skills-training they need for in-demand jobs. This legislation gives women new opportunities by providing them with the hands-on training necessary to transition into a new field of work or move up the ladder. Our party is one of solutions, and we are working for the American people to ensure that we are making their lives easier.

Unfortunately, due to the current Obama economy, I understand the need to stretch every dollar. However, surging gas prices, increasingly-high food and childcare costs do not have to be the norm. Fortunately, women have the opportunity to change the status-quo. We represent nearly 52 percent of the voting electorate, and we are the ones who are going to determine which direction our country heads. The woman who juggles a hectic schedule at work, packs school lunches for her children, finds the time to balance her household checkbook, and makes critical healthcare decisions for her family will be the same woman who will determine elections and policies that will influence our country.

Imagine a time in the future, when all women can turn on the nightly news and hear how something actually got done in Washington. Instead of learning about increasing costs or the new bills she will have to pay, she will hear how decisions made in Washington that day made her life a little easier and a little less chaotic.

This is what my colleagues and I are fighting for every day— a bright future for women and all Americans.