Dennis Richardson, the GOP candidate for governor, has a new ad out and it's aimed at the group that loves incumbent Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber the most—women voters. Polling shows that Kitzhaber's strongest support comes from well educated women, and particularly, young women.
The new ad produced by state Rep. Richardson (R-Central Point) is short—just 15 seconds—but it makes a clear claim: that Kitzhaber's assertion that he supports equal pay for equal work is not true, or at least not borne out by his actions in office.
The basis for Richardson's assertion is reporting the Salem Statesman Journal did about public employee pay gaps earlier this year. Reporter Hannah Hoffman found that like most employers, the state pays female employees less than it pays men and that the gap in Kitzhaber's office is even wider than the state average.
Here's what Hoffman found:
Fun Fact No. 2: Gov. John Kitzhaber's office is less equitable that state government generally.
The governor has asked Department of Administrative Services Director Michael Jordan to study the state's disparity in how men and women are paid and find a way to fix it.
But Kitzhaber is not leading by example.
His office employs 27 women and 16 men. The average monthly salary for women is $6,507 — about 79 percent of what the men are making. ($8,203 per month.) That pay gap isn't enormous; it's about the same as the statewide average. It is, however, quite a bit wider than the gap for state employees overall, where women make about 88 percent of what men do.
Note: Kitzhaber's staff includes several policy advisers who are actually paid by other departments and listed on their payrolls even though they work for Kitzhaber. I don't have a full list of who all those people are, so the numbers above reflect only the people listed as working in his office.
Kitzhaber campaign spokeswoman Amy Wojcicki says the ad is a diversion.
"Richardson is desperate to talk about anything except his 11 year record in the legislature, a record that includes voting against a bill that would have strengthened laws against workplace discrimination, voted against contraceptive equity and against expanding daycare benefits for working women," Wokcicki said in a statement. "This is outrageous coming from a man that believes women do not have the right to control their own bodies. Representative Richardson’s record shows he clearly does not grasp the basic issues of fairness and equality"