Advocate for Women and their Families
Just as she has throughout her life, Alison Lundergan Grimes will continue fighting for women as Kentucky’s first female United States Senator. Alison learned the value of public service at an early age, and her passion has always been increasing opportunity for every citizen of the Commonwealth. She entered public service to give a voice to the voiceless – experience she gained as an attorney for victims of domestic violence.
As Secretary of State, Alison championed the first-ever address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence to ensure their safety and security are not compromised when they exercise their right to vote. Alison has also ushered in new laws that maintain the integrity of the democratic process and protect the voting rights of our men and women in uniform and absentee voters. She is committed to guaranteeing that every eligible Kentuckian has access to the ballot box.
When elected to the U.S. Senate, Alison will work to create good-paying jobs, fight to close the gender wage gap and raise the minimum wage to ensure middle class security for women and their families. She is committed to:
- MAKING CHILDCARE MORE AFFORDABLE: Affordable childcare is out of reach for many Kentucky families. Over 140,000 working Kentucky mothers have a child under 6, positioning them as increasingly likely to need childcare services. Alison strongly believes that we must begin addressing this problem by providing additional tax breaks to Kentucky businesses that create on-site child care centers or help their employees find child care services. We must also develop federal and state partnerships to improve access to quality childcare for rural areas, where working parents often face unique challenges.Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell has actually repeatedly voted to slash funding for childcare services in Kentucky. Under a proposal supported by McConnell, approximately 1,700 fewer Kentucky children would have child care through the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
- EXPANDING ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION: Alison will also work with families, educators and schools to ensure our children have access to quality education and are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to succeed. Education is the passport out of poverty, and every child has the right to a quality education. A good education is an economic necessity and should not be a luxury. Education is the gateway to good-paying jobs, economic growth and a strong middle class.Mitch McConnell negotiated a Washington budget deal that caused 1,100 Kentucky children to lose access to early childhood education and cut an estimated $31.8 million from Kentucky schools. He also opposed legislation to hire and preserve jobs for teachers and blocked legislation to preserve low interest rates for students.
- PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: As Secretary of State, Alison championed the first-ever address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence to ensure their safety and security are not compromised when they vote. In the Senate, Alison will continue to be a voice for victims of domestic violence. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, “a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds” and one in six women in the U.S. will be victims of domestic violence over the course of her lifetime – troubling statistics that must be addressed.
Despite political attempts to disguise his real record, Mitch McConnell has repeatedly opposed the Violence Against Women Act and even blocked an effort to vote on the bill to protect women.
- KEEPING PROMISES TO KENTUCKY SENIORS: An estimated 600,000 Kentuckians rely on Social Security and nearly 800,000 Kentuckians depend on Medicare. Alison will protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare as Kentucky’s next U.S. Senator. Protecting these programs is critical to the economic well-being for the Commonwealth’s women and families. Women rely more heavily on income from Social Security than men do, and the majority of Medicare recipients are women.
Women have more health care needs, live with chronic conditions and have higher life expectancies than men. Therefore, women are especially reliant on the health care services provided by Medicare. The promise of a secure retirement is one we must keep for our nation’s seniors and make sure these programs are still intact for our children and grandchildren. Alison is focused on spending smarter, reducing waste in the Medicare system, and improving coordination of care.
Instead of strengthening and preserving these critical programs, Mitch McConnell wants to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it, increasing seniors’ out-of-pocket costs by nearly $6,000 per year.
- ACHIEVING PAY EQUITY: Women are half of the labor force in this country yet still make 77 cents for every dollar – 23 percent less than their male counterparts. In Kentucky, women lose nearly five billion dollars in wages each year – a statistic that is staggering and unacceptable. With that money a working woman in Kentucky could purchase 78 more weeks of groceries, pay 14 more months of rent, make 8 more months of mortgage and utilities payments or buy 2,477 additional gallons of gas.In contrast, Mitch McConnell has called equal pay for equal work just another “special interest vote” and voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act – not once, but twice.
- INCREASING MINIMUM WAGE: In order to grow our middle class, we must raise the minimum wage to help hardworking Americans achieve a basic standard of living. An overwhelming majority – two thirds – of minimum wage workers in the United States are women. Consider a single working mother of two who makes the current federal minimum wage who brings home just $14,500 annually – nearly $4,000 below the poverty line.
Rather than forcing our own neighbors to choose between putting food on the table, getting to work and paying the rent, all Americans deserve a living wage that is consistent with our values. Raising the minimum wage would increase incomes for more than 30 million workers in the U.S., and is an important step to ensure workers see the benefits of a growing economy.
Earlier this year, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy pointed to a report detailing the impact a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour would have in Kentucky. According to this report, doing so would:
- Lift the wages of over one in four Kentucky workers.
- Increase annual earnings for the nearly 30 percent of Kentuckians who make minimum wage or just above by $2,369 on average and $863 million in total.
- Grow Kentucky’s GDP by $546 million by 2015 and create 2,200 jobs.
Mitch McConnell has voted against raising the minimum wage at least 16 times, while voting in favor of raising his own government salary.
As Kentucky’s first woman Senator, Alison Lundergan Grimes will continue being a staunch advocate for women and their families. She will seek common ground and work across the aisle for solutions that put Kentucky and our country back on the right track. The contrast with Mitch McConnell could not be starker.
Developing Kentucky’s energy will provide financial security to families across the state. Kentucky is leading the way in domestic energy development and the industry holds tremendous potential to grow our economy, create middle-class jobs and lower energy costs for families across the state. But Washington’s regulatory barriers and burdensome taxes threaten this critical development in Kentucky.
I strongly oppose President Obama’s attack on Kentucky’s energy industry. This Administration has taken direct aim at Kentucky’s coal industry, crippling our state’s largest source of domestic energy and threatening thousands of jobs. Washington Democrats and Republicans need to be realistic about what powers our nation and recognize that developing Kentucky’s supplies of coal is crucial.
We must secure America’s energy independence and reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Our nation’s energy approach should rely heavily on coal, oil and natural gas, along with alternative sources of energy. Kentucky will lead this effort through continued coal production and exploration and development of natural gas. While our nation is running a $45 billion trade deficit, Kentucky’s natural resources remain underdeveloped. In 2011, Kentucky contributed 7 percent of the nation’s total coal exports, but we can do more to develop these and other resources and reduce our trade deficit.
Protecting Social Security and Medicare
I am running to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security. I believe in keeping our promises to our nation’s seniors while preserving these programs for our children and grandchildren. But rather than pushing for privatization, vouchers, or simply shifting costs to seniors, we should be looking for ways to spend smarter. We should focus on reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, improve coordination of care between doctors, hospitals and patients, and allow Medicare to better negotiate prescription drug prices.
Instead of strengthening and preserving these critical programs, Mitch McConnell plans to end Medicare as we know it. Under a proposal backed by Mitch McConnell, insurance company bureaucrats would be put in charge of making seniors’ health care decisions, and seniors would see their out of pocket costs increase by nearly $6,000 per year. Thousands of current seniors across Kentucky would be forced back into the prescription drug “donut hole,” costing them approximately $13,000 more between 2014 and 2022 than under current law. I believe we’ve got to balance the budget, but we’ve got to do it the right way, and that means protecting the benefits and programs seniors have paid into over a lifetime of hard work.
As a Senator, my number one priority will be putting Kentuckians back to work in good-paying jobs. Kentuckians lost more than 118,000 jobs at the worst part of the recession and they are still struggling to provide for their families. Mitch McConnell failed to put Kentuckians back to work. To increase family incomes, I will work to ensure that all Kentuckians and all Americans can earn a living wage for their work, and make sure that women get equal pay for the same work as men.
We must cut red tape and allow businesses to grow and create new jobs. As Secretary of State, I worked with both parties to create a one-stop shop for Kentucky businesses to interact with multiple state agencies through one point of contact, reducing tape and making it easier for business to grow and create more jobs. There are currently 854 federal regulations affecting small businesses. We must reduce this regulatory burden. Our federal government shouldn’t prevent small businesses from succeeding and creating jobs in Kentucky.
We must target burdensome federal regulation of Kentucky’s energy sector, allowing our state to create new middle-class jobs across the state. Kentucky is leading the way in domestic energy development and the industry holds tremendous potential to grow Kentucky’s economy, creating middle-class jobs across the state, but the federal government stands in the way. I will fight to reduce this regulatory burden on Kentucky’s energy industry.
We must encourage manufacturing to return to Kentucky. I’m encouraged that companies like General Electric are opening manufacturing plants across Kentucky, but we must do more to create these new investments in our state. We should end tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas and expand tax credits for companies to invest in research and development and in new machinery and equipment here at home. We should also invest to develop an advanced manufacturing workforce in Kentucky.
The Federal deficit is out of control and it threatens the long-term strength of our nation. In 2001, the budget was in balance and the nation was projected to be debt-free by 2011. Now – after a decade of unpaid-for spending and the worst downturn since the Great Depression – this country owes $16.7 trillion. The debt impacts our ability to make investments critical to growing our economy, including education, infrastructure and workforce training.
Mitch McConnell has failed to address our nation’s out-of-control spending. With him in Washington, Kentucky has repeatedly witnessed threats of government shut downs, gone to the brink of default and listened to overheated rhetoric that has done nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians. We can’t afford for Washington and Mitch McConnell to continue to play the same old political games with the budget.
I believe that there is a responsible path to balancing the budget. We need to start by going line-by-line through the budget to cut waste, fraud and abuse and we must ensure that tax dollars are being used smartly and efficiently. Nearly 680 renewable energy initiatives across 23 federal agencies and their 130 sub-agencies costing taxpayers $15 billion is certainly not an efficient use of taxpayer dollars.  I also believe that we can make our Medicare and Medicaid programs more efficient without slashing coverage. Medicare spending is unsustainable. But rather than pushing for privatization, or vouchers, or shifting costs to seniors – supported by Mitch McConnell – we should be looking for ways to spend smarter on our entire health care system. And to ensure our country never goes into debt again, I will fight in the U.S. Senate to pass a balanced budget amendment.
Our veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice. We owe them the care they were promised and the benefits they have earned. As Secretary of State, I have worked to ensure that members of the military never have to ask, “Does my vote actually count?” I traveled to the Middle East to meet with deployed soldiers to learn how to improve voting procedures for military personnel stationed overseas. My recommendations formed the basis of a bipartisan bill that was signed into law that will allow military members and their families to register to vote and update their registration online, ensure that military voters have sufficient time to vote in special elections and extend existing protections to state and local elections and National Guard members.
Washington has fallen short of honoring our commitment to our veterans. Our veterans should not struggle to find jobs or access care. Kentucky is the home of over 350,000 veterans, the fourth largest in the nation. It is a disgrace that so many veterans across Kentucky have compensation claims pending, more than 10,000 in the Louisville VA backlog alone. I’m shocked that Mitch McConnell opposed plans to reduce this backlog and voted against veterans jobs legislation. This is wrong.
I’m committed to serving Kentucky’s 350,000 veterans and I will fight for the quality health care, benefits and treatment they have earned. We must expand education and training opportunities for service members and veterans, facilitating public/private partnerships that help them translate their military skills for the civilian workforce. We must improve access to health care services, including mental health, prosthetic care and wound regeneration. And we must improve collaboration between the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring that veterans receive the benefits and medical care they deserve in a timely manner.
 [NACCRRA, Kentucky Fact Sheet]
 [Associated Press, 5/8/12]
 [Roll Call, 7/31/12]
 [The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation report, 2012]
 [National Partnership for Women and Families, 4/13]
 [National Partnership for Women and Families, 4/13]
 [Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, 4/3/13]
 [Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, 4/3/13]
 [Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, 4/3/13]
 [Vote 23, 1/24/07; Vote 179,6/21/06; Vote 26, 3/7/05; Vote 257, 10/19/05; Vote 76, 4/7/00; Vote 356, 11/9/99; Vote 239,7/30/99; Vote 94, 4/28/99; Vote 77, 3/25/99; Vote 278, 9/22/98; Vote 184, 7/9/96; Vote 183,7/9/96; Vote 519, 10/27/95; Vote 33, 7/31/95;Vote 68, 5/17/89; Vote 39, 4/12/89]
 [Vote 406, 10/23/03]
 [National Mining Association, 3/13]
 [Treasury, accessed on 7/22/13]
 [KY Department of Veterans Affairs, 9/2012]
 [Vote 193, 9/19/12; New York Times, 9/19/12; Senate Appropriations Committee Mark Up, 113th Cong. 1st Sess., HR 2216, (*proxy vote), 6/20/13; CQ Roll Call, 6/20/13]