Two years ago today, my life changed dramatically. Back then, I was a law student who was barred by Republican Representatives from testifying in front of a Congressional committee about insurance coverage of contraception. Instead, they heard about women’s health from a panel of all men. Leader Pelosi stepped in to make sure women’s voices were heard, and asked me to speak to members of Congress.
My testimony – that all women’s insurance should cover access to the healthcare they need – enraged extremists. Two years ago today, right wing talk radio hosts including Rush Limbaugh let loose with hateful, personal attacks that went on for three days. At first, I was shocked, but then that shock turned to outrage, because this is historically the kind of language that is used to silence women, especially when women stand up and say that reproductive health care is a human right.
But thanks to you, because you stood with me, those hateful words didn’t silence me.
Instead, they gave me a platform to amplify our collective voice, to speak out about this and other issues that affect families across the country, from access to health care to immigration reform to income inequality.
Now, I’m running for the California State Senate so that I can continue the work I’ve devoted my career to: speaking up for those others try to silence. I’ll be a progressive leader in Sacramento for a new generation, and fight to create change that sweeps across the country. As goes California, so goes the nation!
Over the last two years, many of you have written to me. You’ve told me about your hopes for your daughters and granddaughters, and about the need to elect more women to office to fight for them. And some of you actually sent money. Many of you said you hoped some day I would run for office and you wanted to contribute the first dollars to my campaign.
Others sent cash in notes filled with hateful and misinformed rhetoric about helping me buy condoms because I was such a slut. Oh, I saved that cash, too. I’m putting it toward this campaign because I will never allow that kind of hate to stop me, or to strip young girls of their opportunities.
That stuck with me, and reminds me why I’m running: to push back against the constant threat of extremism we face from the right, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with all of you who fight for progressive change.
Your words have been a tremendous source of support during these last two years. I know I can count on you now for your support in so many ways.