Whitmer, Benson want U.S. women’s soccer champs to visit Michigan

    Megan Rapinoe | Noah Salzman photo, Wikimedia Commons

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who established the first-in-the-nation Task Force on Women in Sports, has invited the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national soccer team to visit Michigan.

    She tweeted the invite Tuesday on behalf of herself and the task force’s chair, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is the former CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE).

    “We will celebrate your victory, talk about women in sports and even talk about equity over a cup of tea,” Whitmer said in a Twitter video.

    The soccer team’s stardom has prompted a national debate over female players being paid less than their less successful male counterparts. Team captain Megan Rapinoe, who is gay, also has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump and said she would not visit the White House if invited.

    “Your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me; you’re excluding people that look like me; you’re excluding people of color; you’re excluding Americans that maybe support you,” Rapinoe said on CNN.

    Whitmer signs women in sports executive order

    Rapinoe also said on CNN that she would accept invites from Democratic lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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