Women comprise over 50 percent of adults in Texas and nationwide, but are consistently left out of critical policy decisions made by our state and federal government.  Whether it’s in Washington or in Austin, women’s priorities and needs are constantly treated with less consideration, or drowned out by the sea of money being spent on other “priorities.”

When most people hear about how a politician is bad for women, they immediately think it means the politician is anti-choice.  It’s a broken framework, which glosses over how there are many politicians in both parties (and of both genders) – pro-choice or not – who vote against women time and again.  In most instances, their votes have nothing to do with reproductive health.

State Representative Rodney Anderson (R – Grand Prairie) says he works “to improve the quality of life for the people” he represents, but apparently his words do not apply to half of his constituents – women.

Anderson has shown a disturbing pattern of voting against women’s access to health care, pay equity, or protection against sexual assault.  When trends in healthcare and the economy cut against women, and with a new urgency to stop public or private predation against women, his votes reveal his values.

First, Reform Austin has previously reported on rising maternal mortality rates in Texas, and there’s been recent coverage on the surge in closings of rural health facilities.  Anderson voted against HB 279, a bill designed to extend the life of the Women’s Health Advisory Committee.  The committee was created to help reinforce women’s health plans after Texas legislators dramatically changed access to health care, resulting in women receiving less health care access, but it also could have studied the potential for disparate impact on women caused by the health care closings in rural Texas.

Second, a broad body of research shows women are often paid less than their male counterparts.  While debate continues on pay equity for women, and specifically whether the government should mandate employers to pay women and men the same rates for the same work, there’s no good reason for taxpayer dollars to pay people differently for doing the same job.  Anderson voted against an amendment requiring the state comptroller to analyze the salaries of male and female workers based off of job classification at all state agencies and contracted organizations.

Finally, Anderson also voted against HB 2032, which would have enhanced criminal penalties for sexual assault committed in a vehicle operated by a public transportation system. The bill is an important step in helping to protect Texans (especially women and children), as 53 percent of women in western countries say they feel unsafe while using public transportation.

When you get past the heated rhetoric of right versus left, and look closer at the records of the legislators sent to work for us, it becomes inescapable – Rodney Anderson can’t claim he to work tirelessly on behalf everyone if he ignores the needs and priorities of half of Texas.  We need public officials to see and hear everyone in our state, and we need to Reform Austin.