Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Tuesday, October 17, the Swarthmore Democrats hosted a Women’s Health Rally to introduce Katie McGinty, the Democratic Candidate for Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate, local candidates for the Pennsylvania State Senate, as well as the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards.
Unfortunately for students, McGinty’s flight out of Pittsburgh was cancelled. Nevertheless, state legislature candidates for surrounding districts in Delaware County delivered their own speeches, bringing to light issues pertaining to the immediate area around Swarthmore and tying in the importance of Planned Parenthood to their own lives as well as the lives of all people living in the area.
Barbarann Keffer of Upper Darby, representing the 163rd district for the PA State House, began the afternoon with a speech describing her journey to politics, being the first in her family to attend college (at Harvard), and using Planned Parenthood as her primary healthcare provider after graduating. Her words, to be echoed by each following speaker at this rally, praised Secretary Clinton as well as Katie McGinty for their commitment to progressive politics as well as women’s health.
Following Keffer was Elaine Schaefer, another Delco native and self-professed “fangirl” of Katie McGinty. Schaefer, of Radnor, is seeking election to represent the 165th district of Pennsylvania. Like Keffer, Schaefer discussed utilizing Planned Parenthood as her primary healthcare provider during her immediate years after graduating college, emphasizing Planned Parenthood’s services outside of reproductive health.
According to Schaefer, Katie McGinty “has got the goods” to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate, and she drove home her speech with the reality that Pennsylvania has yet to see a female senator elected to office and at present has no female representatives in the House.
Wrapping up speeches by state legislature candidates was Marty Molloy, who is seeking election for PA’s 9th Senatorial District. In an impassioned speech, Molloy gave his platform of improving educational standards in Pennsylvania, reducing poverty, and promoting sensible gun laws. Like both prior speakers, Molloy and his wife used Planned Parenthood when they faced hardship in starting their family.
Much to the satisfaction of the audience, Molloy called out Donald Trump on his divisive, hateful rhetoric.
Molloy claimed that as a candidate, he is “trying to create a future that [our children] would be proud of, that they would inherit.” His solution? Elect McGinty to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate and elect Hillary Clinton as President of the United States. This, according Molloy, is a moral imperative.
Maggie Christ ‘17 then introduced Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, who came to the podium to a hearty reception by Swat students.
In accordance with her audience, Richards emphasized the importance of the millennial voter block. “I have never been more motivated in an election than this one,” Richards said.
Tying her speech with the nature of the rally, Richards highlighted Trump’s anti-woman and anti-progressive words and admonished the incumbent Senator Pat Toomey, who has yet to call out Trump for his harmful rhetoric. Pat Toomey and Katie McGinty are currently embroiled in a very heated Senatorial race, and polls have shown both leading a close race.
Referencing Trump’s comments about pregnant women being an inconvenience to employers, Richards said “women are more than an inconvenience to Donald Trump, they’re the reason he will lose the election.” After another round of applause, Richards implored Swarthmore students to envision November 8th as a teachable moment in history, and hopes that we will all witness the inauguration of the first female President of the United States.
Featured image courtesy of www.nbcnews.com