By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
If Barbara Buono is going to mount any kind of successful campaign against Chris Christie, she’s going to need the support of women.
She attempted some inroads on that project today at a women’s rally at the Statehouse, organized by New Jersey Citizen Action and Planned Parenthood, to coincide with votes today in the legislature on restoring funding for women’s health and pay equity for women.
“We are gathered here today in recognition of the fact that supporting our women in New Jersey doesn’t just support women. It supports our children, it supports our families, it supports our communities, it supports our state,” Buono said.
This is the fifth time Democrats in the legislature have tried to restore $7.5 million for family planning clinics since the governor first cut it three years ago.
He says it’s redundant spending, since poor and uninsured women can go to any of 20 federally qualified health centers throughout the state.
“He doesn’t have a clue. That shows how out of touch he is. The FQHCs offer services but do you know how overburdened they are? Do you know what the waiting time is to get pre-natal care there? We need Planned Parenthood. This is just a ruse to appeal to the national Republican Party who is anti-Planned Parenthood. This governor has made it clear he’s anti-Planned Parenthood, anti-choice, anti-pay equity. He called it senseless bureaucracy,” Buono said.
The head of New Jersey Right to Life agrees with the governor.
“The Commissioner of Health has testified numerous times before the Senate and Assembly budget committees and has said that not one person has come forward. They have not heard any complaints that people are not able to get health care,” said Executive Director Marie Tasy.
The gender gap normally sees women favoring Democrats and men favoring Republicans.
In last week’s Monmouth University poll that had Christie leading Buono 61 percent to 31 overall, the governor did slightly better among men than women but not dramatically so.
Buono told the women Christie is squandering $24 million on an unneeded special election.
“Twenty-four million dollars is more than three times restoring women’s health care and he vetoed it not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. It’s time for this to change,” Buono said.
“It’s time we elect a Democrat woman governor,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said.
Along party lines, the Senate voted to restore women’s health funding this afternoon and the Assembly is poised to do the same this evening. Meanwhile, Buono says she’s not thinking about gender, just voters.