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Tammy Simmons defended sexist ex-GOP chair who claimed women are lazy

Tammy Simmons prepares to testify before the Board of Aldermen
Tammy Simmons prepares to testify before the Board of Aldermen
Jon Hopwood

Tammy Simmons, the chair of the Manchester, New Hampshire Republican Party, came out in support of Republican State Representative Will Infantine when the now disgraced former City GOP Chair characterized women as lazy and undeserving of equal pay. The sexist comments by Infantine, who preceded Simmons as the head of the Manchester City GOP, garnered nationwide media attention.

"Women make half of what men do because of flexibility of work," Infantine said in a speech on the floor of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. "Men are more motivated than money than women are," he said."

In Infantine's mind, men have more drive and hustle than women. That institutionalized sexism might have something to do with the disparities in pay between men and women apparently never has crossed the mind of the very conservative legislator, or been discounted.

The bill was easily passed in the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 187-134.

Will Infantine is now embroiled in a sex scandal triggered by the revelations of sexual chicanery by his employee Rich Girard the host of the ultra right-wing Girard at Large radio talk program at the "Christian" radio station Infantine finances. The misogynist Infantine has been revealed as an adulterer and sex hound, though not in the league of Girard.

Of Ninnies & Nannies

While Infantine was being characterized as a sexist ninny by the national media, Tammy Simmons sprung to his defense. Writing on her personal Facebook page that is open to the public, Simmons said, "I'm a Republican.....and the chair of the Manchester GOP....but that has never stopped me from criticizing other Republicans when I think they voted poorly or made a bonehead statement on an issue."

Those readers expecting that Simmons, a truculent true believer of the anti-government, anarcho-libertarian school of political posturing, was going to take Infantine to the woodshed for his boneheaded comments -- comments he himself later tried to distance himself from -- were disappointed. She went on to write:

" My good friend and colleague Rep. Will Infantine is getting a of of slack over a speech he made on the house floor on what IMO is just another piece of nanny state legislation - aSB207 [SIC] mandating that women be paid the same as men.

" If I had been in the house....that very likely would have been ME making that speech.....and I certainly would have voted the same way Will did on the bill."

Simmons went on to say of the New Hampshire Pay Check Fairness Act, " I'm sorry of the Democrats seem to think the only way to ever get things in life is to have the government mandate them. I happen to have much more faith in people themselves to make decisions that are best for themselves."

"Women of New Hampshire"

Tammy Simmons' anti-woman agenda is hardly surprising. When Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter headlined a conference on pay equity at Manchester Community College in March of this year, Simmons went out of her way to mock the Democrat, who was joined at the conference by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), one of the leading voices for women's rights in the U.S. Congress. It was DeLauro who introduced a women's paycheck equity bill in Congress to fulfill the mandate established when President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Equity Pay Act of 1963.

That mandate has gone unfulfilled for half a century, as Congress failed to pass legislation making JFK's dream of pay equity for woman a reality.

Also attending the conference were Shea-Porter and DeLauro's fellow Democrats Teri Norelli, the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and Sylvia Larsen, the minority leader of the State Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. Shea-Porter, Norelli and Larsen are part of the contingent of state leaders known nationwide as "The Women of New Hampshire". The Granite State is the first state in which the entire Congressional delegation is comprised of women, and the governor also is a woman. But for a one vote majority in the State Senate, women of New Hampshire would also be the leaders of both branches of the state legislature.

Tammy Simmons, no friend of Democrats or of women's rights, mocked Carol Shea-Porter and the proceedings by sending a cake to Manchester Community College "celebrating" the anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, which Shea-Porter voted for. She belittled the serious issue of pay equity by pulling this sophomoric stunt.

Though the Affordable Care Act is rooted in conservative, libertarian principles as elucidated by the Heritage Foundation, Obamacare is an issue that Simmons hopes will help her party retake the State House and the seats in Congress now held by three Democratic women, Shea-Porter, U.S. Rep. Anne McLane Kuster, and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Shea-Porter, an unabashed liberal, had defeated Simmons' political mentor, the far-to-the right Frank Guinta, in the 2012 congressional race. Simmons made her political bones by manning a bullhorn near the steps of the Manchester City Hall, harassing Democratic aldermen, while supporting the issue of a tax cap that helped Guinta in his bid to become mayor of New Hampshire's "Queen City". He then defeated Shea-Porter in 2010 before losing to her two years later.

The guards at the college refused entry to the group of reactionary activists bearing the comical confectionery. It was a shameless and shameful episode was typical of Simmons political machinations, and it belittled the issue of women's rights and pay equity, a very real and pressing concern for working women that the country has failed to adequately address since 1963.

Out of Step

The market forces that Tammy Simmons puts her faith in have failed to lift many women out of poverty, but rather than attribute that to sexism and discrimination, conditions that can be ameliorated by actions taken by a government that Simmons hates, she has chosen to scapegoat women, along with Will Infantine, as lazy and responsible for their own economic predicament.

Simmons herself recently announced that she herself no longer works, apparently having quit her job to take on political maneuvering full-time in her capacity as the Queen City GOP chair. She likely is supported by her significant other, a right-wing, anarcho-libertarian Republican activist who also is a member of the anti-government Free State Movement. Curiously for a person who has a vanity license plate showing his anti-government stance, Simmons' significant other seems to be employed by one of the largest defense contractors in the United States.

Her comments supporting Will Infantine's sexist agenda and her earlier churlish behavior at the pay equity summit reveal Tammy Simmons to be far out of step with women and voters of either gender. It is ironic that while the Granite State has been celebrated for its "Women of New Hampshire", the ascension of women to positions of political power, the Republican Party -- a party that had an Equal Rights Amendment plank in its national platform from 1940 through 1976 -- of the state's largest city should be headed by a woman hostile to women's rights and equal pay.

It is hard to believe that in a place where the levers of state and federal power are almost exclusively operated by women, that the Queen City Republican Party should be in the hands of such an anti-woman reactionary -- and a woman at that! Tammy Simmons has let her anti-government, anarcho-libertarian political ideology make her oblivious to the fundamental requirements of equality, liberty and common sense embodied in pay equity legislation. It is legislation favored by the majority of New Hampshire citizens, of both genders.

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