This past week, the Federal Election Commission ruled unanimously that federal candidates can now use campaign funds to pay for childcare costs that result from running for office. And it’s a big, big, big deal, whether or not you’re thinking of running for office.
Mother’s Day gift, indeed!
We owe it all to New York Democratic House primary candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley. This Long Island mom has two young children and has always worked from home while she watched her kids. But now that she’s running for office, she realized that the law that determines how campaign funds may be used, did not include childcare. Even though her childcare expenses were specifically a result of her campaigning — same as travel, or poster printing or travel.
So she submitted a proposal to the FEC, supported by 26 members of Congress, two advocacy group, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a law professor.
Her request was granted. Unanimously.
Nice shout-out on Twitter!
So what does this ruling mean? Well obviously, that more parents of young children now have the ability to run for office if they choose. Liuba has even mentioned that she’s received letters from other mothers who claim they now feel inspired and more empowered to run, themselves.
The ruling also means that we will have more parents of young children — especially women — holding elected office. And when our political leadership includes more women and mothers, that means a greater variety of perspectives that better reflects the people they represent. And hopefully, more legislation that benefits women and new parents, too.
The way I see it, who could possibly be better suited for political office than us parents? We’ve been well-trained in patience, logistics, diplomacy and dealing with potty mouths and unreasonable demands.