Women have become accustomed to strong words from politicians on equality and our role in the world. They are, after all, trying to win our votes. But when Mitt Romney talks about women, when he says he believes that we can do any job a man can do, I know from experience that he's speaking from the heart.
I served as Lt. Governor with Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts. In fact, of the twenty top positions in the Romney administration, ten of them were filled by women, more than any other state in the nation. Romney's Chief of Staff was a woman - Beth Myers. As we took office, our administration actively sought to recruit the best and brightest women the Commonwealth had to offer. And Governor Romney wasn't just checking a box. He sought out our counsel, and he listened to our advice. We didn't always agree, but we were always respected. Mitt Romney didn't judge the people who were in his administration by their gender. He wanted the best, male or female. There's no greater evidence that Mitt Romney will represent all Americans than his record of treating all people fairly and impartially. His was a brand of leadership that got things done by bringing people together, not dividing them.
We need that kind of leadership today. People are hurting in this country, and women especially have been suffering. The numbers are stark. Five-and-a-half million women are unemployed. Under President Obama, the number of women living in poverty has climbed to a record high of nearly twenty-six million.
Despite President Obama's best efforts -- and despite his soaring rhetoric -- his policies simply haven't worked. In the two debates we have seen so far, we've heard the President give excuses for his disappointments, but we haven't heard him offer a specific plan or concrete proposals detailing how the next four years will be any different than the last four years.
We can't afford four more years of the status quo.
What we need is change, and that is precisely what Governor Romney is offering. He has a plan that will create twelve million new jobs, one that will get our economy moving again and lift Americans back out of poverty. He'll do it by offering strong leadership and by working across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats.
I know that he can accomplish these goals because I have seen him do it before. And when he does succeed, millions of women will have good jobs with rising pay and new opportunities to fulfill their dreams. That is the kind of empowerment and equality that we need now more than ever.