U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan this week to visit American mothers serving overseas and Afghan women working towards gender equality.
The visit was part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the war-torn nation, where a series of foreign occupiers and long-term civil strife has made life difficult for all Afghans, particularly women.
Graham saluted those women, as well as the American women in uniform who she said were fighting for a just cause.
“It’s difficult for anyone in our military to leave their family and serve overseas — and it can be especially hard on mothers serving in war zones,” said Graham, a freshman Democrat from Tallahassee. “It was an honor for me to meet with these brave mothers serving in Afghanistan. They deserve our respect, admiration and support.”
Joining Graham on the trip were three other congresswomen: fellow Democrat U.S. Rep. Susan Davis of California and Republican U.S Reps. Martha McSally of Arizona and Martha Roby of Alabama.
In keeping with Graham’s moderate-tinged North Florida Way, the attorney and former Leon County Schools legal counsel had warm words for women seeking gender equity on both sides of the aisle.
“Women’s rights are human rights,” said Graham, who recently announced she will likely run for governor in 2018. “We’ve seen Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush both lead on this issue, because it doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat — we all must stand up for oppressed women around the world.”
“The Afghan women I met, including the first lady, are risking their lives to fight for a society where their daughters and granddaughters will have equal rights. I stand in solidarity with them and will do everything I can in Congress to support their fight,” Graham said.
Graham, the daughter of iconic former Florida U.S. Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham, is the first woman to represent the Panhandle in Congress.