Administration members rally women to get out Obama vote

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, left, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, right, greet Democratic supporters Monday in Grand Junction on the first day of early voting in Colorado.

Two high-ranking members of President Barack Obama’s administration rallied more than 50 supporters on Monday in downtown Grand Junction and took shots at the Republican ticket.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, and Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, urged a crowd of more than 50 voters, most of them women, to knock on doors and follow up with potential supporters to make sure they cast ballots. Both noted that voters on Monday could begin casting early ballots and several participants walked toward the Elections Division of the Mesa County Clerk’s Office to cast ballots.

Sebelius, then the governor of Kansas, headlined a rally for Obama in 2008 in Grand Junction and pointed out that he carried Colorado and won the election that year.

“Let’s repeat it,” Sebelius told the crowd.

Noting that GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan was to speak later at Colorado Mesa University, Sebelius drew boos from the audience when she pointed out that Ryan, a U.S. representative from Wisconsin, voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, intended to address differing levels of pay for men and women performing the same job.

Republican Mitt Romney seems to forget his previous positions on issues such as abortion and other matters important to women, Sebelius said, noting that Obama has named a memory-robbing disease “Romnesia.”

“The good news is, Obamacare has a cure for pre-existing conditions, so we can take care of Romnesia,” Sebelius said.

Sebeleius lauded the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare on both sides, as providing services to women, from health care to mammograms to contraceptive services.

With the health care legislation, insurance companies had “to stop treating women as a pre-existing condition,” Sebelius said.

Women occupy high levels of the Obama administration, Jackson said, noting that women are in charge of the state and homeland security departments.

Unlike Romney, who needed to be brought “binders of women” when he was inaugurated governor of Massachusetts to find female members of his administration, “our president doesn’t need binders and binders of women” to serve in his administration, Jackson said.

Sebelius and Jackson made no comments directly related to their positions in the Obama administration, with Jackson declining to discuss issues related to her post in the administration. Sebelius was found by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to have violated the Hatch Act by making political remarks in her capacity as a federal employee during a speech in North Carolina in February.

She and Jackson were to continue east from Colorado with rallies scheduled along Interstate 70, with Sebelius commenting that the road to the White House “goes through the Rocky Mountains.”


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