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By W. Gardner Selby October 2, 2014

Leticia Van de Putte says Dan Patrick said equal pay for women not a problem

Leticia Van de Putte said in her recent Austin debate with Dan Patrick that Patrick had said that if women "get paid less than a man for the same job, that that’s not a problem."

Patrick said that?

To our query, Manny Garcia, spokesman for Van de Putte’s campaign, said by email Van de Putte. the San Antonio state senator and Democratic lieutenant governor nominee, heard Patrick, the Houston senator and Republican nominee, make the remark at the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival.

Patrick, Garcia noted, voted in the 2013 legislative session against a proposal ultimately vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry requiring equal pay for women doing equal work. And in May 2014, Patrick said that as lieutenant governor, he would keep an equal-pay measure from being considered by the full Senate.

As recapped by WFAA-TV, Channel 8 in Dallas, Patrick said: "I do not think that we should have government telling business how to pay their employees whether they’re male or female. I would hold that bill… Look, women deserve equal pay and if they’re doing a better job than the guy they’re working next to, they deserve more. It’s not up to government." Patrick added that the lieutenant governor should protect free markets. "I don’t want government interfering," he said.

On Sept. 20, 2014, Tribune CEO Evan Smith interviewed Patrick and Van de Putte back to back on an Austin stage. We watched the video.

The equal-pay portion of the conversation opened with Smith asking Patrick to confirm he’d previously said: "Women should be paid the same as a man, but I don’t believe government should enforce it."

"Correct," Patrick said, adding that pay should be based on an individual’s performance. "And if a woman does a better job than a man, she deserves to be paid more," Patrick said. "And we have a lot of women business owners. I don’t want the state of Texas telling women business owners you have to pay, listen, you have to pay everyone the same."

Smith then asked if Patrick thought Texas has an equal pay problem or, alternatively, if critics had overblown the issue.

Patrick: "You know, I don’t think it’s a problem. But to say, are there some businesses that may not treat people fairly? Yes. But I don’t think it’s a problem. And I think look, I’m a small-business guy; I’ve always had a lot of women work for our company. I want the best employees I can have."

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Smith asked next if women who work for Patrick are paid equally as men.

Patrick: "In some cases you’d find they are paid more. Look, I’m a business guy and like every businessman and woman, you want the best people. You don’t really care what color they are, where they come from, what gender they are; you want them to do the job."

Patrick then reiterated he doesn’t want the government imposing pay requirements.

Our ruling

Van de Putte said Patrick said that if women "get paid less than a man for the same job, that that’s not a problem."

Broadly, both candidates were vague in their use of "problem," leaving room for interpretation.

Still, Patrick answered a question by saying he doesn’t think the equal-pay issue is a problem and he hammered his opposition to any state law mandating equal pay. However, Patrick also said some businesses don’t treat people fairly and said any worker should be paid on performance. These are important missing details.

We rate this statement Half True.

HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

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Leticia Van de Putte says Dan Patrick said equal pay for women not a problem

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