An Oneonta Bus Lines manager was asked to represent the U.S. Department of Transportation at a White House event when President Barack Obama marked the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.
“I’m very, very honored,” Camilla “Cam” Morris of Oneonta said. “It was an incredible experience. … It will be something that I’ll always remember.”
Morris said she was among about 120 leaders, mostly women, from a range of business sectors and industries who attended the reception in the East Room of the White House on Monday.
Morris said guests were told that “someone senior” would speak at the event. After reaching the East Room, she said, she saw the presidential seal on the podium, then the president was introduced.
Obama engaged with his listeners, Morris said. The president said he hoped that his daughters would have the same opportunities to achieve as men, she said.
Obama spoke about 10 minutes, according to a White House transcript.
“Fifty years ago today, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, right here in the White House,” Obama said. When the law was enacted, he said, women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by men on average, a rate that has risen to 77 cents on the dollar today.
“I assume everybody thinks we can do better,” Obama said.
“Yes!” was the audience reply.
Obama pledged to continue the fight toward an economy with good jobs and fairness in pay.
“We have all of you and your predecessors to thank for the incredible progress this country has made in eliminating the barriers and injustices that might keep our daughters from enjoying the same rights, same chances, and same freedoms as our sons,” he said. “I’m proud of you.”
Morris said she was proud to represent her employer and the American Bus Association and to be among DOT representatives at the White House event and to support women in the transportation field and to further the cause of equal pay for women.