SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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August 24, 2013

'Let's get to work'

Pelosi discusses women's economic agenda in Beverly

(Continued)

“I would be coming if he had no opposition whatsoever, because we are here on what we do — policy — to have ideas to turn into law to make life better for people. And that is what John Tierney is all about.”

When pressed by a television reporter about why Pelosi didn’t wait until the ethics issue was cleared up, Pelosi shot back: “I have been waiting a long time for women to have an increase in the minimum wage.”

She has tackled ethics issues in Congress, she said, and yesterday’s appearance was driven by the women’s economic agenda, not politics.

Asked whether an ethics probe is warranted, Pelosi said she does not know whether the situation merits one, but added, “I welcome it, and I think John does, too, to just clear up the issue.”

“Let’s get it done,” Tierney interjected.

Pelosi said the new economic agenda is not necessarily a government-funded issue.

“Maybe the minimum wage is not a cost to the federal government. Pay equity, women being treated fairly in the workplace, is not a cost to the federal government. We are talking about public/private cooperation to lift up women in the workplace,” she said.

“This is not about a government program, it’s about a private initiative.”

Others, including Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who was in the audience, spoke about issues they would like to see Pelosi tackle.

“I’m feeling like this is Girl Power Friday,” Driscoll joked. “Thanks for pulling us all together; now watch out, right?”

Driscoll wanted extended learning time in public schools to be part of the agenda.

“Early ed and expanded learning time for school-age children and adolescents, I look at that like a twofer,” said Driscoll. It not only provides support to single-parent families who need childcare, it boosts education, she said.

“We are trying to cure poverty, and we are trying to do that in our public schools every day,” she said.

The Salem School Committee recently voted to end an extended-year program at the Saltonstall School, over Driscoll’s objection.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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