House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer hosted his 20th annual Women’s Equality Day Luncheon on Tuesday in College Park, Maryland, to celebrate accomplishments women have and continue to make in the community.
However, the longtime congressman told the 300 friendly faces at The Hotel at the University of Maryland that women have fewer rights than when he hosted his first luncheon in 2002.
That’s based on the Supreme Court’s decision this summer to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which removed abortion as a constitutional right and allows states to decide the issue individually.
Although abortion rights won’t affect Maryland, dozens of other lawmakers in states such as Georgia already approved legislation that makes abortion illegal after six weeks of pregnancy.
“We must fight for those states that need our help,” Hoyer said. “I’m proud that so many Maryland women are leading the charge nationally to channel their anger and frustration into action and positive change.”
Women’s Equality Day pays homage to women’s right to vote when the late U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed a proclamation on Aug. 26, 1920. The day was officially designated in 1971.
The luncheon not only honored Maryland women such as former Sen. Barbara Mikulski, House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Sen. President Pro Tem Melony Griffith (D-Prince George’s County), it also pushed for leaders to install new state leadership.
Yvette Lewis, chair of the state’s Democratic Party, reminded attendees there’s fewer than 80 days until the Nov. 8 general election.
Lewis said the party faces “the wide gap in character and class and dignity” against the Republican Party and its gubernatorial nominee, Del. Dan Cox.
She emphasized the 30% increase in Republican turnout in last month’s primary election in Maryland and that her party’s numbers “were flat.” She said 38,000 Republicans joined a telephone town hall with former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Cox.
“Don’t think they’re not energized,” Lewis said. “Please, don’t assume anything. Run like we’re 30 points behind. I don’t want to see a glass of wine or champagne or bottle of beer raised until we cross the finish line.”
The Democratic Party wants voters to choose Democratic candidates that “resemble America” in Wes Moore for governor, Rep. Anthony Brown for attorney general and Del. Brooke Lierman for comptroller. If elected, Moore and Brown would be the first Blacks elected to those positions and Lierman the first woman.
Former Del. Heather Mizeur faces a tougher challenge against Rep. Andy Harris, the only GOP member in the state’s federal delegation. Harris seeks a seventh term representing the 1st Congressional District with a heavy GOP influence along the Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Carroll and Harford counties.
If elected, Mizeur would be the first woman to represent the state’s federal delegation in 15 years.
Another woman seeking to make history is Moore’s running mate, former Del. Aruna Miller of Montgomery County. If elected, she would serve as the first woman and first of Indian descent as lieutenant governor.
“He is the kind of person who has always and will always be the best ally for women,” said Moore’s mother, Joy Moore. “Between his sisters and I, we raised him that way. We turned the baton over to [Moore’s wife] Dawn.”