Scenes from the 2018 Sacramento Women's March
Two groups that have played a prominent role in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Women's March Sacramento and the California Legislative Women's Caucus, are hosting a rally for International Women's Day on the west steps of the Capitol starting at 10 a.m.
Rally organizers say a prominent theme of the day is supporting women candidates for political office in California and changing a culture of sexual harassment at the Capitol that led nearly 150 women to publish an open letter last October denouncing the treatment they have faced in state politics.
Participants in the rally are encouraged to wear red and black to honor International Women's Day and the movements against sexual harassment and assault, said Jessica Browning, co-chair of Women's March Sacramento. More than 300 people have registered to attend the rally so far, Browning added.
Speakers at the rally will include Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, Tamika L'Ecluse, who is running for Sacramento City Council and Tracie Stafford, an Elk Grove mayoral candidate. Browning said more than 300 people have registered to attend the rally so far.
"(The rally) is very timely," Browning said. "We still need to bring a spotlight to these issues, and we want to promote women running for office and hear from them and center their voices."
Women's March Sacramento will also host a mixer this evening where attendees can meet local women running for various political offices. Candidates at the mixer will include Regina Bateson and Jessica Morse, who are competing for the Democratic nomination in the hotly contested 4th Congressional District race to unseat Republican Rep. Tom McClintock.
The mixer is from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at The Firehouse Restaurant, 1112 2nd Street. Tickets are available here.
Since January, when an estimated 36,000 people took part in the Sacramento Women's March, Browning said it has been hard to keep up and deal with the amount of prominent issues surrounding sexual harassment, gun violence and immigration.
"The good news is people are definitely energized and mobilizing for action," Browning said.
However, Browning said much work remains to be done. The #MeToo movement in California hit a speed bump when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, in February. Garcia, an outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement, was chair of the legislative women's caucus, a position Eggman now holds.
Garcia is on a voluntary, unpaid leave of absence while the Assembly investigates sexual misconduct claims against her.
Another ongoing hurdle facing women in California is the pay disparity in workplaces, Browning said. Personal finance website WalletHub released a report Monday ranking the best and worst states for women across various metrics, and California came in 49th place out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., for median earnings for female workers, adjusted for cost of living.
California also came in 44th place for female unemployment rate. The state fared better in other metrics focusing on education, life expectancy and health care for women and finished 19th in WalletHub's overall rankings.
But the pay gap concerns Browning.
"In my full-time job, I work in the technology sector, and I see the pay disparity in action everyday. It's awful," Browning said. "One of the top solutions to the problem is simply getting more women to run for office. We really are putting all our energy behind that effort this year."
Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning rundown on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up here.
HOUSING FORUM: Six gubernatorial candidates will gather today for an affordable housing forum hosted by Housing California and several state and regional partners as part of Housing California's annual conference. Candidates Travis Allen, John Chiang, John Cox, Delaine Eastin, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa will take turns speaking one-on-one with Sacramento Bee reporter Angela Hart about their plans for tackling California's affordable housing and homelessness crisis. This is the first time Housing California has hosted a gubernatorial forum. The forum starts at 9:45 a.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street.
PROTECTING THE COAST: President Donald Trump's proposal to expand offshore gas and oil drilling off of California’s coast will be a main topic when the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture holds the 45th annual Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum at the Capitol today. The forum will include a discussion about how California’s $7 billion commercial fishing industry is organizing to oppose the offshore drilling plan. Panelists will include John Laird, California’s Natural Resources Secretary; Charlton Bonham, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Anthony Williams, vice president of the state Fish and Game Commission.
The hearing begins at 1 p.m. in Room 2040. A live stream will be available via the state Senate website.
A FAREWELL ROAST: It’s last call for reporters to ask Anthony Reyes questions he likely won’t answer. Reyes steps down as communications director for Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de León Thursday and starts a new job next week at Edelman in Sacramento. Reyes prefers to keep a low profile. A review of our archives turned up fewer than a dozen quotes from Reyes in the four years he’s served as a top aide to the Senate leader. In response, a "source within the pro tem's office" sent an emoji of a zippered mouth, before adding that he would rather give his boss the spotlight. De León said he’ll miss Reyes' “passionate dedication to justice” most of all. The pro tem’s office will toast Reyes tonight at 5 p.m. at Coin Op Game Room on K Street.
CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, who turns 77 today.