As a part of her campaign for paid family leave, Meghan Markle is trying to reach out to the members of Congress as engaged citizens. She called Democratic and Republican senators to discuss the issue.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito said, “Honestly … I thought it was Sen. [Joe] Manchin. His calls come in blocked,” said the Republican senator from West Virginia (Manchin, a Democrat, is her fellow senator from the state). “And she goes ‘Sen. Capito?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.'”
Republican senator Maine Susan Collins also received a call from Meghan. The senator said about this unexpected call, “I was happy to talk with her. But I’m more interested in what the people of Maine are telling me about it,” Collins also said, “Much to my surprise, she called me on my private line and she introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex, which is kind of ironic.”
A spokesperson for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand confirmed that she gave the senators’ numbers to Meghan. She said, “I talked to each of the women senators and let them know that she’s going to reach out because she only completed two of the calls,” Gillibrand also said, “She’s going to call some others, so I let them know in advance.”
Then Gillibrand continued, “She wants to be part of a working group to work on paid leave long term and she’s going to be. Whether this comes to fruition now or later, she’ll be part of a group of women that hopefully will work on paid leave together.”
Earlier Meghan wrote an open letter which was published by “Paid Leave for All”. In that letter, she was setting up her argument for national paid leave. She wrote, “Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities. At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.”