A Republican Congressman Wants To Teach Women About Gardening & Weight Loss

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Florida Republican, is planning to hold a Women's Summit on June 9 that he's billing as "an opportunity for women to learn about relevant topics that have a direct impact on their lives," according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Some of the topics the summit will address, according to its coral-pink flyer? Gardening and losing weight. It will feature "local and national experts" on other topics like "a woman's guide to financial planning," mental health, faith, identity theft, and "maximizing social media presence" (presented by Facebook). The keynote speaker will be University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft, who will discuss "the secrets of her success." (The only thing it's missing is Cupcake Decor 101 and How To Organize Your Pinterest Boards More Efficiently.)
In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Bilirakis said that he had crowdsourced the topics from a former event. "I try very hard to allow ideas and agendas to be driven by the people I serve," Bilirakis said. "I've always said the best ideas come from the people."
Chris Hunter, one of Bilirakis' Democratic opponents in the election in Florida's 12th Congressional District — traditionally a Republican stronghold — called the summit "a shameless election-year stunt" considering the Congressman's voting record on women's issues.
Bilirakis voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 and against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. His spokesperson Summer Robertson told the Tampa Bay Times that he supported the original VAWA but did not approve its reauthorization because "the final version of the bill diverted a large amount of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs without any substantial proof or coherent argument that such a transfer would lead to more convictions or greater protections for women."
The Congressman has also voted with President Trump's positions on the issues 97.4% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. This means he's in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act, banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and denying funds to health centers that perform abortions.
We reached out to Gus Bilirakis' spokesperson and will update this story when we hear back.

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