Dear Mr. Lehrer,
MomsRising is an online and on-the-ground multicultural organization of more than a million members, a combined social media and blogging reach estimated at over 3 million readers, over 700 bloggers, and over a hundred aligned organizations working to increase family economic security, to end discrimination against women and mothers, and to build a nation where both businesses and families can thrive. We are thrilled you are moderating this year's first presidential debate on October 3rd! Every day, we hear from moms across the country about the concerns that keep them awake at night: Finding affordable, quality health care and child care, fair pay, access to earned paid sick days, family medical leave, unchecked climate change, and toxic chemicals in our homes, toys, and air. But too often these everyday issues that we all grapple with in our real lives, and that impact our family economic security, never make it to the center stage in policy debates. *We implore you to ask one (or more) questions based on the following facts relating to what many families have to face every day: Right now, the birth of a child is a top cause of a "poverty spell" in America, and 1/4 of families with young children are living in poverty. More than 50% of women have delayed seeking medical care due to cost, and one-third of women report forgoing basic necessities to pay for health care. Child care costs more than college in a majority of U.S. states. Over 170 countries have some form of paid family leave for new moms, but the U.S. doesn't. A whopping 1 in 10 children in the United States have asthma and the attacks on clean air have been happening for years. Unchecked climate change will only make our air worse. Nearly half (48%) of private-sector workers—and a whopping 78% of food and public accommodation workers are denied even a single paid sick day. The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) grandfathered in 62,000 chemicals. Our broken system leaves us exposed to countless toxic chemicals every day, chemicals that put our families at risk for cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and more. Studies show that moms are paid 73 cents to a man's dollar and single moms are paid about only about 60 cents to the dollar. Women of color experience increased wage hits on top of that. Parents and families are facing big problems, and the first step to solving any problem is getting the conversation started. And, one of the best ways to get the country talking about these issues is to include them in the presidential debates. Thank you for creating a debate where serious issues are discussed. We're looking forward to watching the debate. Sincerely,
We'll keep you posted via email on this and other MomRising.org campaigns.
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Jim Lehrer of the PBS NewsHour will moderate Election 2012’s first presidential debate on October 3. Please join me in asking him to put the issue that families face front and center in the debate:
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