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A Women's Agenda.

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The comprehensive plan and call to action for an MD-06 that prioritizes women’s issues and empowerment.

tekeshamartinez.com/women

The Vision.

In this pivotal time in our nation's history, I stand as a proud advocate for the empowerment of women—a movement that transcends generations and continues to break barriers. It is crucial to seize this moment while our hard-fought rights are still under attack to turn the tide and push A Women’s Agenda forward. When the needs of our mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, nieces, and aunties are met, society as a whole will benefit.

 

Faced not only with continuing challenges to women’s rights, but also with the interlacing stresses of climate change, racial injustice, and public safety, we must reassert our unwavering commitment to forging a future where equality is not just an aspiration but a lived reality. From the workplace to the halls of Congress, women are increasingly stepping into roles of influence and challenging the status quo. Now is the time to capitalize on this momentum and amplify our voices.

 

A Women's Agenda is not just a list of policy proposals; it is a call to action, a rallying cry for all who believe in the power of progress. Together, let us channel the energy of this transformative era, leveraging the political power we have gained to safeguard and expand the rights of women. The time is now, and the moment is ours.

The Right to Control Our Own Bodies.

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Tekesha carries her personal journey into her passionate advocacy for the fundamental right to control our bodies. In her commitment to reproductive rights, she is determined to ensure that every person can access safe and legal abortions nationwide. Drawing from her extensive background as a community mediator, Tekesha emphasizes the importance of offering proper resources, care, and attention to everyone, regardless of their personal choices or circumstances.

  • Codify Roe v. Wade into federal law with the Women's Health Protection Act to reestablish access to safe, legal abortions nationwide.

  • Guarantee insurance coverage for abortion care.

  • Expand funding for healthcare clinics that provide abortion care and other reproductive health services.

  • Ensure that everyone, regardless of whether they decide to carry a pregnancy to term or seek an abortion, is offered the proper resources, care, and attention as their situation requires.

  • Advocate for the creation of a federal contraceptive resource program focused especially on low-income areas for access to products like Plan B, IUDs and condoms.

  • Repeal the Hyde Amendment, a discriminatory policy blocking federal abortion care assistance, with the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Healthcare (EACH) Act.

  • Repeal the Helms Amendment to end the blockade on American foreign aid being used for abortion care—a move that could result in 19 million fewer unsafe abortions, 17,000 fewer maternal deaths, and $641 million saved across the health systems of 33 countries receiving US foreign assistance.

  • Ban costly and medically unnecessary Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws that seek to impede safe reproductive healthcare by bogging down providers with red tape.

  • Introduce a national substitute mailing address program providing protection to reproductive healthcare workers by keeping their home address confidential.

  • Address anti-abortion crimes perpetrated against reproductive healthcare clinics, their workers, and patients as hate crimes.

  • Advocate for a life-saving, comprehensive, evidence-based national sexual education standard that affirms our individual bodily freedoms and keeps young people informed on sexual health, contraceptives, reproductive care, and sexuality.

  • Decriminalize sex work to help end human trafficking, improve public health, and promote safety.

  • Recognize the importance of bodily autonomy in the LGBTQ+ mental health crisis by ensuring access to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender women and others.

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“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

This is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)—a simple yet deeply important legal affirmation that drives Tekesha’s vision of constitutional equality for women in business and the workplace.

  • Pass the Equal Rights Amendment to enshrine women’s rights into national law.

  • Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure equal pay for equal work, end retaliations against workers for simply sharing how much they make, and provide women with the tools they need to better negotiate their wages.

  • Foster an environment that encourages and supports women entrepreneurs, providing access to mentorship and networking opportunities.

  • Facilitate the growth of unions, collective bargaining, and women’s participation in the process to uplift all worker's rights.

  • Adopt an approach to solving wage disparities that recognizes that Black and Hispanic women face the largest gender pay gap and will require focused attention.

Equal Pay for Equal Work and

Entrepreneurship.

Universal Healthcare Coverage and Access to Health Products.

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The health and safety of women today requires a transformative healthcare agenda. Tekesha passionately advocates for a universal healthcare system to ensure quality and affordable care for everyone. From students in the schoolyard to nurses in our hospitals, the needs of our women and girls must be heard, understood, and addressed. No one should be denied access to mental healthcare or medical necessities.

  • Catch up with the rest of the world by establishing a universal healthcare system that guarantees access to quality, affordable care and ends the chokehold that private insurance companies have on public health.

  • Ensure that Medicare coverage is expanded to include dental, hearing, vision, long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, and prescription drugs.

  • Address the Black maternal mortality crisis by allocating specific resources, care, and attention to the populations that need it the most.

  • Pass the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act to address the staffing crisis by establishing minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for hospitals, protecting nurses who whistleblow concerning workplace and patient safety, and investing in nurse training and career development.

  • Give back to our nurses experiencing unprecedented levels of fatigue, depression, and burnout by building a targeted national mental healthcare program that establishes well-being standards for employers and provides practical, evidence-based resources.

  • End gender-based price discrimination by passing the bipartisan Pink Tax Repeal Act to mandate that comparable products marketed to men and women must be priced equally.

  • Eliminate sales taxes applied to menstrual products like tampons and pads that are necessary for personal health and hygiene.

  • Guarantee the provision of free menstrual products for students in public schools and the incarcerated.

  • Recognize that women, especially mothers of color, are often disproportionately affected and bear deep trauma due to the opioid epidemic and substance abuse by committing to evidence-based recovery programs and attentive mental healthcare not only for those with addictions but for their families and those who care for them.

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Truly addressing public safety requires an acknowledgment that some of the most acute challenges are often the most hidden from our view. The prevalence of gender-based violence, harassment, and discrimination often means that very few women, girls, or LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe in their daily lives—whether at work, in the streets, or at home—which bleeds into their ability to provide for their families or build the relationships and safety nets on which our communities thrive. Tekesha is ready to tackle these issues from the root.

  • Ensure the continuation and full funding of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) while working to intensify the bill’s preventative and survivor-focused measures.

  • Pass the bipartisan Ending the Monopoly of Power Over Workplace Harassment through Education and Reporting (EMPOWER) Act to prohibit NDAs that intimidate survivors, require public disclosure of settlements by companies, enhance training programs that foster safe environments, and more.

  • Close the dangerous “boyfriend loophole” that allows physically abusive ex-romantic partners and stalkers with previous convictions or restraining orders to access guns as long as they are not a spouse, cohabitant, or have had a child with the victim.

  • Expand the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) to fully eliminate the national backlog of rape kit testing and secure justice for survivors.

  • Protect Title IX law and ensure that it continues to address the full scope of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation-based discrimination.

  • Ensure that pervasive sexual violence and harassment in the military is both prosecuted when it occurs and prevented before it happens.

  • Advocate for comprehensive anti-discrimination laws and explicitly protect transgender individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, and public services.

  • Support the inclusion of gender identity and expression in federal hate crime laws to reinforce protections against violence targeting transgender women.

  • Work to reduce the shortage of desperately needed affordable housing that is especially prevalent amongst our veterans and LGTBQ+ populations by addressing the housing market directly—incentivizing construction, reforming zoning laws, and combatting purely speculative land-grabs—and implementing protections for renters such as a “just-cause” for evictions.

Ending Gender-Based Violence, Harassment, and Discrimination.

Supporting Mothers and Families.

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Whether in the home or in the community, women are often assigned the great responsibility of nurturing the youth and caring for the elderly and infirm. Those who have an outsized impact in nursing, teaching, youth advocacy, and childrearing must be provided with the resources they need to raise and uplift not only families, but entire communities. As a mother of five children who grew up in the foster care system herself, Tekesha understands these obligations intimately.

  • Pass the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act to catch up with global standards of paid leave and guarantee up to 12 weeks of partial income for time off due to conditions such as pregnancy, childbirth recovery, caring for a seriously ill family member, shifting arrangements due to domestic abuse or a family member’s military deployment, and more.

  • Advocate for inclusive policies that recognize diverse family structures and caregiving responsibilities, reflecting the lived realities of Americans today.

  • Fully fund the Head Start program and expand access to high-quality childcare through bills like the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, recognizing that the income, careers, and well-being of working mothers are disproportionately impacted by a lack of affordable childcare options.

  • Expand the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program to improve the health of at-risk children through home visits, coordination of community services, and access to parental resources.

  • End the stigma surrounding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), work to expand its scope, and raise awareness to encourage those eligible to take advantage of resources available to them.

  • Protect and expand access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for low-income families by aligning purchasing power with grocery prices, streamlining enrollment, removing unreasonable barriers for eligibility—such as requiring that military housing allowances be included in income calculations—and providing training and resources for understanding best-use practices.

  • Recognize that climate change will have its most harmful effects on our most vulnerable populations, especially Black and Brown mothers who want to leave a healthy planet to their families, by empowering them to organize via community-based approaches and take action through political participation.

  • Address the trauma and outsized effects that the opioid epidemic and substance abuse has had on mothers, especially women of color, by committing to evidence-based recovery programs and attentive mental healthcare not only for those with addictions but for their families and those who care for them.

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Tekesha is committed to ensuring that the next generation of women have not only the resources but the confidence they need to lead our communities into a brighter future.

  • Promote STEM education for girls, providing scholarships and programs to encourage their participation in science and technology fields.

  • Address gender biases in education and give girls the resources they need to pursue successful careers in sectors that have been traditionally dominated by men.

  • Recognize that any approach to solving climate change must come with an investment in nurturing the careers of women and girls who should be at the forefront of a greener future.

  • Work to eliminate interest on student loans and forgive student debt to reverse the effects of the student debt crisis that has stopped many young people, especially those from marginalized communities, from launching businesses, buying homes, participating in the economy as a whole, or even pursuing a career they love.

  • Promote inclusive education policies that foster safe and supportive environments for transgender students, addressing bullying and ensuring access to facilities that align with their gender identity.

Expanding Educational Opportunities for Girls.

A Seat (or a Folding Chair) at the Table.

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As the first Black mayor of Hagerstown—going from foster care to overseeing over $1.8b of growth and investment in and around her hometown—Tekesha is no stranger to trailblazing. As a public servant, she makes it her imperative to ensure that opportunities for women and girls to have an impact on their communities will only grow from here.

  • Encourage and support more women to run for political office at all levels.

  • Build networks and relationships through the Congressional office to nurture community involvement and access to the halls of government locally, in Annapolis, and in D.C.

  • Organize and mobilize the often untapped and disregarded political power of Black women.

  • Work to shift the culture of political participation so it can be seen as a solution instead of a distraction or futile commitment.

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Any real commitment to a transformative Women’s Agenda cannot end at the U.S. border. Tekesha recognizes that achieving women’s equality requires a global vision and that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

  • Repeal the Helms Amendment (See: The Right to Control Our Own Bodies.)

  • Champion international efforts to promote women’s rights, addressing issues such as education, healthcare, and economic empowerment on a global scale.

  • Address the fact that the world’s most vulnerable populations—including women and girls—will face the greatest and most imminent challenges due to climate change and will require special attention and investment so that their communities do not collapse.

  • Collaborate with global leaders and organizations in women's rights to combat human trafficking, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, and violence and discrimination against women everywhere.

A Global Vision for Women's Rights.

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Let's take it to Congress.

Mayor Tekesha Martinez is running to be the Democratic nominee for the open seat in Maryland‘s 6th District on May 14th, 2024. When she wins (with your help), she will bring A Women‘s Agenda to Congress in November.

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