Another gubernatorial endorsement today -- the statewide chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is backing Joe Hoeffel for governor.
Like the endorsement from some SEIU locals earlier today, the choice isn't that surprising. Unlike his major rivals, GOP or Democratic, Hoeffel's pro-choice credentials haven't been questioned. (At a candidate's forum last weekend, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty both said they support the state's existing abortion law ... but questions have been raised about where their hearts are on the issue.) And he couches his support of reproductive freedom as a matter of trusting women -- a full-throated case for equal rights. At last weekend's candidate forum, for example, Hoeffel was the only one who complained that Pennsylvania's current abortion law was too restrictive.
Text of the press release follows:
February 8, 2010 – The Pennsylvania National Organization for Women (PA NOW) has endorsed Democrat Joe Hoeffel for governor of Pennsylvania.
In a letter sent to Hoeffel, Joanne Tosti-Vasey, Chair of PA NOW PAC, said:
"We are pleased to inform you that you have received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania NOW PAC. We are delighted to have a strong candidate running for governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"You have received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania NOW PAC due to your strong support of NOW's positions on full equality for all women including reproductive rights, economic equality for women, civil rights for all, constitutional equality for women, affirmative action, and the elimination of violence against women.
"Pennsylvania women need a governor with an unambiguous commitment to their rights- equal pay for equal work, better access to healthcare and education for women and their families, and an advocate for reproductive rights.”
Tosti-Vasey's comments were echoed by Caryn Hunt, President of Philadelphia NOW. "Joe has backbone, said Hunt. "He's not afraid to wade into issues that are paralyzing the state, like an antiquated and regressive tax code, and make the changes that have long been needed to grow Pennsylvania without penalizing the working class. He's is an extremely able politician, but he never lost that fire in his belly for the people. Joe will add family-sustaining jobs to Pennsylvania's economy, an economy that relies, like the rest of the country, equally on the contribution of women."
"Pennsylvania NOW's endorsement means the world to me," said Hoeffel. "I believe in equality for all people and will work to advance the quality of life of all Pennsylvania women as governor. That means making sure we create good jobs, have adequate funding for essential services and eliminate discrimination related to employee wages, benefits, and rights.
"I also support reforming our health care system so that no one has to worry about affording routine health care or catastrophic illnesses," he said. “And I believe insurance plans that cover preventive medications and devices for men should also cover a full spectrum of contraceptive devices and medications for women."
Hoeffel added that as governor, he would "continue to trust women to make their own personal, private decisions regarding reproductive health issues."
For more information about Joe Hoeffel's candidacy, please visit: www.JoeHoeffel2010.com.