I just got off a conference call with Democratic Attorney General candidate Mark Herring and Grace Han Wolf – a Herndon Town Councilwoman and small business owner (Clay Cafe Studios of Chantilly, Inc.). The call’s purpose was to highlight Mark Obenshain’s opposition to measures that would benefit women- and minority-owned businesses across the Commonwealth. According to the Herring campaign:
In 2010, a state-sponsored study concluded that Virginia is failing to take advantage of services and products offered by women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Women and minority-owned businesses have the ability to earn over 20% of state contract money, but currently are earning less than 3%. In 2011, women in Virginia earned roughly $13,000 less each year than their male counterparts. Median income for Virginia women was around $41,000 compared to $55,000 for men. And Virginia women earned 78 cents for every $1 earned by their male counterparts.
Here are some highlights from the call.
*Sen. Herring emphasized the “stark differences” between himself and Sen. Obenshain. According to Herring, Obenshain would be “more of the same” as Ken Cuccinelli, “two peas in the pod.”
*Referring to the study noted above, Herring said that ensuring fairness should be a top priority for the state’s Attorney General. Herring promised that as Attorney General, he will use the powers of the office to create jobs and ensure fairness in the marketplace for consumers, businesses, and workers, and to put women-owned and minority-owned businesses on a level playing field when competing for state contracts. Herring also promised to continue to support legislative efforts to expand protections for victims of pay discrimination.
*Herring concluded that “in stark contrast to Tea Party Republican Mark Obenshain, I have a proven record of addressing issues of economic fairness in Virginia; women and minorities can trust that I will use the resources of the office of Attorney General to continue supporting their businesses and economic viability in the state…and ensuring equal pay for equal work.”
*Grace Han Wolf said that Obenshain’s record of opposing equal pay for women speaks for itself, and “there’s no way women in Virginia could ever trust Mark Obenshain.” For instance, Obenshain spoke out against a state program to encourage awarding contracts to women and minorities, also voted against a bill to have Virginia consider women- and minority-owned businesses for state contracts.
*In stark contrast, Wolf pointed out that Herring is strong on pay equity and preventing pay discrimination. Wolf concluded that Herring also is strong on business and committed to growing the economy.