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Lt. Gov. Candidate Dan Patrick: Government Shouldn't Do Anything About Equal Pay

by: Emily Cadik

Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Greg Abbott spent much of this week digging himself into a hole on equal pay, and now Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate Dan Patrick has decided to join him.

On Thursday, Patrick said while he thinks men and women should be paid equally, he does not believe the government should do anything proactive to actually advance pay equity. "Women should be should be paid the same as a man," Patrick said, "but I don't believe government should enforce it." Ever trusting of the laissez faire approach to equal rights, Patrick added, "I just believe in free markets and I believe the market is the best place to do that."

In Texas, the free market has resulted in women making, on average, 79 cents to every dollar a man makes. Or in the case of Greg Abbott's office, only 74 cents to every dollar a man earns.

Patrick's statement also comes after a week of hearing that women are just bad negotiators and perhaps even "too busy" for equally pay.  

Read about the response to the recent offensive equal pay statements after the jump.  

Fortunately, as President Obama recently pointed out, it is not 1958 and there are repercussions for those who come out against equal pay.

For instance Patrick's opponent, David Dewhurst, has been taking a more moderate stance on equal pay in recent days and distancing himself from Greg  Abbott. On Thursday, Dewhurst even told a group of Republican women in Arlington that he would allow an equal pay bill to come to the floor.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa also issued the following statement:

"Dan Patrick says he supports equal pay for equal work, but doesn't think the government needs to protect equal rights. Texas women can't trust Dan Patrick if he won't have the state enforce basic fairness. Patrick supported moving the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act forward in the legislature before he voted against it. He wavers in the face of important issues and Texas women can't count on him to support them and issues they care about."

Wendy Davis's office has been hitting back as well, more specifically towards Abbott. "Greg Abbott's opposition to basic economic opportunity for all hardworking Texas families is toxic, and even top Republicans like David Dewhurst are distancing themselves from him," said Wendy Davis communications director Zac Petkanas. "Despite being Attorney General for 12 years, Greg Abbott continues to pay women in his office substantially less than men for doing the same job while accepting a 62% taxpayer funded pay raise for himself.  If Texas is to lead in the future, we cannot afford a governor who only works for some Texans -- but not all hardworking Texans."

A stark contrast to Abbott's office, women in Wendy Davis's campaign office earn more than men, according to the San Antonio Express-News - on average about $3,000 more per year.

As we head into a November election with women facing men for each of the top seats, we know that this is not the last we'll see of the equal pay issue - and it certainly won't be the last we'll see of Abbott and Patrick's offensive stance on the issue.  

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