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Equal pay advocate Wendy Davis won't pay summer workers

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Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been pushing hard to find an issue that will resonate with the state's voters, and believes she has found one on the issue of equal pay. Last year, she introduced an "equal pay" bill that would have given women the chance to sue in state court for wage discrimination, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it. Despite Davis' call for equal pay for women, however, many women working for her campaign this summer won't be paid at all.

The Davis campaign is currently seeking individuals to work as "Summer Fellows," but fails to mention that it is basically an unpaid internship. While such unpaid positions are common in political campaigns, it seems disingenuous for a candidate with a political war chest of over $15 million not to pay their workers, especially while Davis herself campaigns for equal pay and a raise in the minimum wage.

Just last week, Davis added to her campaign bottom line with a large Hollywood fundraiser hosted by Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams. The total amount raised was not announced, but donation levels started at $1,000 and ranged as high as $25,000 to be recognized as a "host."

An application for their Summer Fellowship program has since been removed from their website (the link now points to a generic volunteer page), but it outlined the duties of the job, without actually mentioning the lack of pay. "This Fellowship involves long hours and a strong commitment to the goals and tasks at hand," the application stated. "We need Fellows who can delegate and prioritize multiple tasks so that the work can get completed." The application also asked what sort of time commitment a worker could offer, and if the worker had reliable transportation.

An email to the Davis campaign about the program and the question of pay received a response from Field Assistant Brynna Quillin. "Thank you for your email about the Wendy Davis Summer Fellowship," the email stated. "The Fellowship is unpaid, but high-performing Fellows may have the chance to be hired full-time as Organizers."

Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at vic@victormedina.com. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link here or at the top of this page.

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