Jefferson City, Mo.-- In an interview yesterday, Sarah Steelman was asked to comment on her recent gaffe regarding the Violence Against Women Act and responded by calling the issue a 'distraction.' Steelman, a candidate for US Senate, refused once again to say how she would have voted on the Senate bill, which was passed 68-31 in the Senate last week.
“If Sarah Steelman thinks domestic violence is a 'distraction,' there are thousands of women and children across Missouri who would be willing to tell her otherwise,” said Caitlin Legacki, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman. “Sarah Steelman’s had nearly two weeks to figure out whether she supports bipartisan efforts to end domestic violence against women and families. If it’s so hard for Sarah Steelman to take a position against domestic violence, which should be a no-brainer, who knows how Sarah would figure out where she stands on the tough issues. Rather than insulting victims of domestic violence, Sarah Steelman needs to do her homework and tell Missourians whose side she's on.”
The Violence Against Women Act passed the Senate last week with the overwhelmingly bipartisan support of 68 Senators. Instead of endorsing the bill, Steelman said on Tuesday, “I think it’s unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from the real problems that are facing our nation.”
Steelman garnered national attention after telling a voter at the MidMO Women’s Expo that she was “not sure” what the Violence Against Women Act even is because she’s "not currently serving." Steelman later issued a statement accusing Democrats of trying to "create an issue where one doesn’t exist."
Originally passed in 1994, VAWA was a landmark piece of legislation that provides vital protections for women and families to combat domestic abuse. The reauthorization strengthens the original bill by providing new resources to local governments and prosecutors to protect women and families from domestic abuse. VAWA has been reauthorized on two separate occasions, 2000 and 2005, by unanimous consent, but the bill faced opposition from Republicans in the Senate this year before finally passing.