Democratic Texas State Senator Wendy Davis has continually used her failed Texas Equal Pay Act to portray herself as a defender of women and equal pay. In a twist of irony, it was recently revealed that Davis, who is still a practicing attorney, personally defended a public entity that was sued for gender discrimination under the Ledbetter law.
On March 7, Davis released a list of public-sector clients to local media that her law firm, Newby Davis, has represented since 2010. On that list was Tarrant Regional Water District, an entity sued by a female employee for gender discrimination according to employment litigation trackers. In December 2010, Tamara Villanueva did not receive a five percent raise, which she believed she was entitled to. She accused the District of denying her the raise because of her gender.
The court rejected Villanueva’s argument and ruled in favor of Newby Davis’ client, the District according to filings obtained by Breitbart Texas.
“Senator Wendy Davis has now mastered the Texas two-step as she continues to launch attacks over equal pay while shielding her own record of defending gender discrimination,” Texans for Greg Abbott Communications Director Matt Hirsch said in a statement on Wednesday.
In 2001, however, Davis approved giving $230,000 to an attorney to represent a Fort Worth city employee who alleged gender discrimination according to the City of Fort Worth. In that case, Public Events Director B. Don Magness, a city employee with 33 years of experience, was accused by a female employee of requiring women in his office to wear short skirts and lipstick. Prior to Davis’ intervention, the approved amount given to outside counsel by the city of Fort Worth was $125,535.91 according to public records.
“Senator Davis currently represents a public entity that was charged with gender pay discrimination under the Lilly Ledbetter Act, and while on the City Council, she approved giving over $200,000 to outside council to represent a former Fort Worth City employee in a discrimination lawsuit,” Hirsch said. “This is the latest in a series of fuzzy facts presented by Senator Davis, and Texas voters deserve an explanation.”
Davis continues to paint Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott as being anti-women in a series of televised interviews and fundraising emails submitted from her campaign. “Greg Abbott would be a governor who doesn’t care about the more than 400,000 households headed by women who need a full day’s pay to buy the groceries, put gas in the car, get their kids a new pair of tennis shoes before school starts,” Davis recently said according to the Dallas Morning News.
The Abbott campaign has claimed to have been a consistent defender of workplace equality for women but has not commented specifically on the Texas Equal Pay Act. When asked about the bill, Abbott told a San Antonio paper, “As a father of a teenage daughter and as a husband of a wife who has been involved in the workforce here in the state of Texas, I fully expect women to be paid what men are paid. There shouldn’t be an difference in payment because of sex.”
Abbott, whose campaign has previously cited the Ledbetter law, mentioned state laws that are currently in place to ensure women receive equal pay. He said, “I’m proud to say that Texas is one of the few states in the nation that actually has a constitutional protection against sexual discrimination of any type, and under the current labor code in the state of Texas, there is a specific statutory prohibition, a specific law in the state of Texas, that prevents discrimination on the basis of sex in any type of employment, and I will ensure that women will not be discriminated in any way on pay because of their sex.”
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