By Rep. Darrio Melton
This week, families will come together to honor our mothers, our matriarchs, and the women who made the biggest impacts on our lives as we grew into adults.
I was raised by a single mom with the assistance of my grandmother. I watched both of them work and sacrifice to give me all the things I would need to be successful in life. Words could never express the gratitude I have for my mother and grandmother–without them, I would not be the man I am today.
Now, my mother and grandmother continue their work as they help me and my wife raise our two children. I’ve watched Christi become a stronger woman every day as she has carried and raised our children, giving them the lessons, values and skills they need to become smart, confident adults. I can only pray that our daughter is as wonderful as her mother.
Love and respect for our mothers is something that crosses all divides. Regardless of whether you’re black or white, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, we all owe a debt to our mothers that we can never repay.
But as Christi and I have raised our two children, becoming a parent has put the world into a new perspective.
A mother will always do everything in her power to provide for her children, but sometimes the deck is unfairly stacked against moms in our own communities.
On average, working women still only make 77-cents for every dollar a man makes. The pay is even lower for African-American women, who make 67-cents on the dollar, and Latinas, who make only 58-cents on the dollar.
Many women in the workforce are doing everything in their power to provide for their families, yet they have a disadvantage simply for being a woman.
Mothers across Alabama are having to choose between groceries and health care for their families because Governor Bentley is refusing to expand Medicaid. Nearly half of all childbirths in Alabama are covered by Medicaid, yet the mother loses her coverage once the baby is born.
Without an expanded Medicaid program, many women fall into an income gap, where they earn too much money for Medicaid, yet not enough to cover private health insurance.
Being a mother is probably the hardest job on this earth, and it’s time we reward it with fair pay and benefits.
The mothers in Alabama are just like my mother. They’re just like my wife. They’re just like your mother. They’re regular women doing everything they can to raise strong, confident children.
It’s time we say thank you by giving them the respect and treatment they deserve.
Representative Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010.