Cecile Richards, activist, organizer and former president of Planned Parenthood, spoke with the Texas Tribune on Friday about her new organization and thoughts on presidential and Texas politics.
“I’m not trying to put my finger on the scale, but I will say having six women running for the presidency of the U.S. and getting to see the debate stage where it’s finally just beginning to look more like America is really exciting,” Richards told Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Emily Ramshaw.
Richards also gave a shout out to Texas candidates Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro for their performance on the debate stage last week.
Still, Richards said she wished all the candidates on stage would have spent more time discussing issues that women across the country were facing, like the increase in the maternal mortality rate.
“This is an epidemic,” Richards said. “All of these states that are focused on passing more restrictions on reproductive access… that didn’t come up in the debates. I can guarantee you that there are women all across this country who are desperately concerned that we as a country don’t seem to care.”
Richards also gave details about Supermajority, a women’s political advocacy group founded by Richards alongside Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, and National Domestic Workers Alliance director Ai-jen Poo.
She said the organization came to be because women in the U.S. were organizing, marching, and going to town hall meetings but were asking “what more do we do?”
Richards said Supermajority would try to mobilize 2 million women ahead of the 2020 elections. “If you believe in gender equity in this country, you can be a member of Supermajority,” Richards said.
Towards the end of their conversation, Richards was asked how her mom, Ann Richards, and how she would have felt about the current political climate which has seen a record number of women candidates running for office.
“She would be overwhelmed at what women across the country and here in Texas are doing,” Richards said.
“Mom was always like ‘don’t wait for the perfect opportunity and don’t wait for somebody to ask you’, and so my motto now is ‘start before your ready’. If more women did that, and I think more women are doing that, we would change the way our government looks,” Richards said.
“I’m really sorry she died before Twitter, because, can you imagine? Ann Richards on Twitter and this president? It would have been game over,” Richards joked.
You can watch the entire conversation at the Texas Tribune.