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Senator Murray, the highest-ranking woman in the Senate, joined a bipartisan effort from all 25 female Senators to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Senate passage of the amendment securing women’s right to vote 

In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray honored the history of Washington state women who helped pave the road toward women’s suffrage and reflected on the progress women have made since securing the right to vote

Senator Murray also emphasized the need to continue fighting to make sure all communities have access to the ballot 

Senator Murray: “Today, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of that important milestone in the march for equality, it’s inspiring to see how far women have come over the last century… but we still have more work ahead” 

Senator Murray: “I believe that momentum is going to continue to build—especially as women continue to reach out to other women to build a bigger, more inclusive coalition” 

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FULL FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.)  – Yesterday, during a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment by the U.S. Senate, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), channeled the spirit of suffragettes from Washington state and across the nation to celebrate the gains that women have made since they won the right to vote, and to demand further protections for that sacred right. Speaking from the floor of the Senate as part of a bipartisan tribute that included all 25 female Senators, Senator Murray recognized the efforts of suffragettes, including Washington state native Mary Olney Brown, to pass the 19th Amendment and win the vote for women. Senator Murray also emphasized that despite the gains made in the past 100 years, women’s voting rights remain under assault, and continued action is needed to ensure that the right to vote is secure for all women.

In addition to Senator Murray’s floor speech marking the occasion, the Senate also passed a resolution, introduced by all 25 female Senators, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment. A longtime champion for women’s equal treatment under the law, Senator Murray has fought diligently to protect women’s rights, from recently introducing new legislation to ensure that women across the country have access to the health care, including reproductive care, that they need, to championing efforts to bolster the landmark Voting Rights Act and opposing judicial nominees with a history of supporting voter suppression.

Key excerpts:

“One hundred and fifty years ago, in Washington state, a suffragette named Mary Olney Brown went to vote—and like so many others at the time, her vote was rejected because she was a woman…[f]ifty years later—thanks to the tireless efforts of women like Mary Olney Brown—that long-standing injustice finally began to change when this chamber passed the Nineteenth Amendment to guarantee women’s right to vote.”

“While there is a lot of work ahead to make good on the promise of the Nineteenth Amendment, and make sure everyone in our country who is entitled to vote, is actually able to vote, and that every woman is able to exercise all of her rights under our Constitution, I’m confident we can get there.

“After 2016, I watched as women across the country stood up, spoke out, and fought back. I saw as much energy as I’ve seen in my lifetime, as women joined together against countless different efforts to roll back the clock on their rights. I saw millions of women turn out to march for their rights. And then I saw millions of women turn out to exercise those rights last November. And what happened? They broke records and barriers across the country—and afterwards several states started breaking down some of the barriers that were put up to block people from voting. I believe that momentum is going to continue to build—especially as women continue to reach out to other women to build a bigger, more inclusive coalition.”

Read Senator Murray’s full speech below, or watch a video HERE.

“Thank you M. President.

“One hundred and fifty years ago, in Washington state, a suffragette named Mary Olney Brown went to vote—and like so many others at the time, her vote was rejected because she was a woman. She said, ‘the idea of a woman voting was regarded as an absurdity.’

“Fifty years later—thanks to the tireless efforts of women like Mary Olney Brown—that long-standing injustice finally began to change when this chamber passed the Nineteenth Amendment to guarantee women’s right to vote.

“Today, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of that important milestone in the march for equality, it’s inspiring to see how far women have come over the last century.

“When we passed the Nineteenth Amendment, there was only one woman in Congress, Jeannette Rankin. Today there are 25 women serving in the Senate and 102 in the House of Representatives. Today women are Governors, Fortune 500 CEOs, Nobel Prize-winning researchers, and candidates for President.

“It’s clear we’ve come a long way—but we still have more work ahead.

“Women may have more representation, but we still make up less than a quarter of Congress, women of color are still particularly underrepresented, and we still have some ceilings left to crack.

“Women are still paid less than men for the same work—and the pay gap is even wider for women of color.

“Women still bear most of the burden of being a working parent, especially when so many lack access to affordable child care, and paid family leave.

“Nearly fifty years after Roe v. Wade was decided, women are still fighting to defend their right to make their own decisions about their own bodies.

“And these injustices even extend to voting itself. Even after the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified—many women of color were still denied the right to vote by discriminatory barriers designed to keep them from the ballot box.

“And today, far too many states have put into effect voter suppression efforts that disproportionately hurt communities of color, like harsh voter ID laws, limits on early voting, polling machines, and voting locations, and  ‘exact match’ requirements that make it easy to purge someone from the voter rolls due to a typo.

“After all the years women spent fighting for their right to vote—it’s unacceptable these kinds of efforts would strip that right from anyone. Which is why we need to pass legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full power to protect the rights of voters across the country.

“While there is a lot of work ahead to make good on the promise of the Nineteenth Amendment, and make sure everyone in our country who is entitled to vote, is actually able to vote, and that every woman is able to exercise all of her rights under our Constitution, I’m confident we can get there. And I want to share why.

“After 2016, I watched as women across the country stood up, spoke out, and fought back.

“I saw as much energy as I’ve seen in my lifetime, as women joined together against countless different efforts to roll back the clock on their rights. I saw millions of women turn out to march for their rights. And then I saw millions of women turn out to exercise those rights last November.

“And what happened?

“They broke records and barriers across the country—and afterwards several states started breaking down some of the barriers that were put up to block people from voting. I believe that momentum is going to continue to build—especially as women continue to reach out to other women to build a bigger, more inclusive coalition.

“And so today, as we celebrate the Senate vote to pass the Nineteenth Amendment, I want to not only remember how hard women fought to get the right to vote, but to promise we are going to keep fighting just as hard to protect it for everyone in this country, and that we are going to keep using it to fight hard for the change we want to see in our communities.

“Thank you.”

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