Governor Rick Perry: Focus on Equal Pay is “Nonsense”

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Last week, the issue of equal pay came to the forefront of the Texas governor's race. Not only did Republican surrogates say that women were “bad negotiators” who are ““too busy for equal pay, Greg Abbott's practice of paying women less than men came to light.

The latest Republican man to lend his unhelpful opinion to the issue of equal pay is Governor Rick Perry. Speaking on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” yesterday, Perry declared that focusing on equal pay in the governor's race is “nonsense” because there are already laws in place to deal with the issue.

If Perry had been paying attention to what is going on in his home state, he might have realized that those already-existing laws aren't exactly working as well as he thinks they are–on average, Texas women still make only 79 cents to every dollar a man makes.

It's clear that Perry, like the many other Texas Republicans, is out of touch with the issues Texas women face. But that hasn't stopped him from continuing to offensively speak out against equal pay.

Read the rest of Perry's commentary about equal pay after the jump. Perry, as one might expect, was appearing on “Morning Joe” as part of early publicity for his 2016 presidential run. He's currently on his “I'm the Jobs Governor” tour, and was in New York promoting his message on cable shows.

On the subject of equal pay, Perry said he “support[s]and help[s]lift up women in the state of Texas.” But he still doesn't understand where the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which he vetoed last year, fits in to helping women.

Said Perry of the Lilly Ledbetter bill:

“Why do we need to muddle up our statutes when we already have laws on the book that clearly take care of this? … But for the sole purpose of politics — and let's face it, this was passed for no other reason than to say we're going to make you veto this bill.”

That's right, despite the fact that Texas women on average make more than 20% less than men, Rick Perry still thinks the sole purpose of the Lilly Ledbetter Act was to get him to publicly veto it.

In fact, the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act was designed to fix holes in the current equal pay laws, and to make it easier for women to contest unequal pay in court. As the Dallas Morning News pointed out:

“Federal law allows women to sue for equal pay when the discrimination is discovered. State law makes it harder to file suit. Women must go to court within 180 days after the discrimination began, not when it's discovered. The bill was designed to give women filing suit in state court the same opportunity as in federal court. Perry and Abbott say that's unnecessary.”

The point of Perry's latest publicity tour is to tout his new Presidential-ready persona.  But as long as he keeps making statements that blithely write off the needs of women as a political trap, it seems likely his second run for the White House will go the way of the first. Now, not only can he not count to three, he doesn't seem to realize that 79 cents is significantly less than a dollar.

Glasses or not, Rick Perry is proving himself to be more of the same.

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About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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