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Equal-Pay Activist Lilly Ledbetter Wants Manchin to Run for President

Lilly Ledbetter, an activist for workplace equality, joins demonstrators opposed to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, in front of the Supreme Court on Aug. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON – Activist Lilly Ledbetter, who was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court employment discrimination case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., told PJM that she would like to see Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

“I told him any time he wants to run for president, I’m on his team. I do like him. He’s got a great track record,” Ledbetter said during a recent interview at a rally outside of the Supreme Court with progressive activists opposed to President Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“I like him. You know, he came here from West Virginia, and when he left West Virginia as the governor, it was one of the two states that was in the black in this country…. He’s real dynamic and I just think he would make a great candidate. I always have,” she added.

As much as she supports Manchin, 71, Ledbetter said she would have a tough time choosing between him and former Vice President Joe Biden if he ran for president in 2020. Some analysts have said Biden might not run for the White House in part due to his age of 74. In response, Ledbetter, 80, said, “Age has got nothing to do with it.”

“I said when you run for president I’m on [Manchin’s] team. I’ve told Joe Biden that too. He said, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ But I’m on his team, too. I don’t know. It would be a hard decision,” she said. “He’s one of the old-school people here in Washington. He can negotiate across the aisle. He knows what’s it like. I can’t say enough about Joe Biden.”

When it comes to deciding which elected officials to vote for, Ledbetter told PJM she looks at who can best understand the average person.

“That’s why I like Barack Obama so much. He and his wife both grew up in apartments, and I knew that they understood what it’s like. His grandmother was bypassed over many, many times for promotions simply because she was a woman. Later, she finally got promoted and finally got her due but he understood it, he knew it, he heard it and he lived it in his house, and that’s what I get around the country,” Ledbetter said.

“Men understand what I talk about because they talk about their mothers, they talk about their daughters and their wives and their neighbors and everybody that’s involved, and the men understand it,” she added.

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 on January 29, 2009, which “overturned the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), which severely restricted the time period for filing complaints of employment discrimination concerning compensation,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Ledbetter argued that Kavanaugh would support corporations over families as a Supreme Court justice and would not let women make decisions about their bodies.

“So, not to just nitpick his rulings so far, but he needs to be more in line in support of women and their families,” Ledbetter said.

“Any of them that go against women – they should allow women who are intelligent and educated to make the decisions about their own bodies and they should leave that alone, and that’s been changed many times over,” she said, referring to Kavanaugh and Trump.

PJM asked Ledbetter if she is supportive of the women Trump has serving in his cabinet.

“No, just because you’ve got a female voice – take the education, she’s as far out in left field – she knows nothing. She’s wealthy. She decides which car she’ll drive today or which limo is going to pick her up or which house she might spend the weekend in. She does not know anything about education, and it’s already proven, and this education system in this country is killing us,” she said.

“Nikki Haley I’m OK with; that’s the only one. She does her homework. She wasn’t an expert in that field and she got in it and she’s done her homework. She’s learned and she’s progressed and moved on. I don’t have a problem with her,” she added.