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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

District 6 candidates pay attention to wage gap

Women in the U.S. earned 78 percent of what men made in 2013, up from 77 percent in 2012.

The United States Census Bureau released data last week regarding income distribution, including the wage gap between men and women working full-time jobs.

Indiana is ranked 45 out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., when it comes to income inequality. In Indiana, women earn 74 percent of what men make, according to the Census Bureau.

Last week, the Senate voted on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill designed to close the pay gap between men and women. The vote was split along party lines.

Fifty-two Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while 39 Republicans voted against it.

Eight senators, including Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., did not vote on the bill. A statement from Sen. Donnelly's office said he missed the vote because he was attending the funeral o f a police officer who had been killed in the line of duty. 

“Senator Donnelly missed votes on Monday, September 15 because he attended the funeral of Merrillville Police Officer Nickolaus Schultz, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this month," Elizabeth Shappell, a spokeswoman from Sen. Donnelly's office said in an email. "Had Senator Donnelly been present for the votes, he would have voted in favor of the motion to invoke cloture on S. 2199, the Paycheck Fairness Act, as well as in favor of the motion to invoke cloture on both nominees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

To pass the Senate, the bill would have needed 60 votes.

Susan Heitzman , Democratic candidate for U.S. representative for District 6 in Indiana, has placed heavy emphasis on gender equality in her platform.

“We’re at a point where we’ve got to step up and be counted for so many reasons, for all the women’s issues,” Heitzman said.

While Heitzman does not have specific policy initiatives on gender equality she would like to propose, she said she believes her goal of changing how people are represented will further improve equality.

Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th District, said the Republican congressmen also support equal pay for equal work. Despite the fact that the Paycheck Fairness Act did not make it to the House of ?Representatives, he said he would consider legislation supporting equal pay if it were brought up in the House.

“As someone who was raised by a single-parent mom and who is the husband of a successful full-time lawyer, he knows how important it is that women are treated equally and fairly in the workplace,” said Liz Hill, communications director in Messer’s office.

Heitzman said she believes the size of her district is too large to be properly represented. District 6 consists of 18 counties in the eastern portion of the state.

“If we can change the way we send someone to Washington with special legislative expertise and have someone represent each county, we can pool our power, and we can come up with better solutions,” Heitzman said.

She also said she would like to see a raise in the minimum wage, which she said would create more full-time jobs for everyone.

The number of full-time workers has increased, according to a Census Bureau report from last week. One million more women and 1.8 million more men are now working full-time.

This story is part of a weekly series profiling members of the U.S. Congress and their opposing candidates for the midterm election on ?Nov. 4. Candidates from each district will be interviewed on a rolling basis.

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