Hooray – A New Rule Will Help More Mothers Run for Office

When the U.S. Senate had to amend its rules this year to allow Senator Tammy Duckworth to bring her newborn onto the Senate floor, it served as a reminder just how uninviting the world of politics can be for younger mothers. The good news is that changes are happening, including an inclusive new decision from the Federal Election Commission.

On Thursday, the FEC decided that a candidate running for office could use his or her campaign funds to cover the cost of child care if such expenses were necessary due to the rigor of campaigning.

This change is the result of a request from Liuba Grechen Shirley, a woman from Long Island running for U.S. Congress. Until recently, she had worked from home so she could simultaneously look after her two toddlers, but the travel and appearances required to run a viable campaign meant she to come up with other arrangements for her children.

The FEC agreed that it was a fair use of campaign money “because such expenses would not exist irrespective of [her] candidacy.” It’s not an exception created just for Shirley, either; the rule will also apply to “any other candidate whose circumstances are not materially different.”

In other words, candidates won’t just suddenly get to write-off long-time child care expenses, but they will be allowed to do so if running for office is what necessitates it. Of course, they’ll also have to adequately fundraise with that time in order to cover that money, so it’s not like it comes free anyway.

Prior to the announcement, two dozen members of Congress had encouraged FEC to agree to the request. U.S. Representative Terri Sewell, a Democrat from Alabama, led the charge and then celebrated the decision, explaining that it “break[s] down barriers to running for office for women and working parents.”

Hopefully, people with young children who would otherwise consider running for office will hear this news and see that there are now options for making it more manageable.

“There’s a reason more than half of Congress members are millionaires: running for office takes a huge toll on a family’s budget, especially while raising children,” Shirley told the press.

This change should be exciting to everyone who recognizes that leaders from diverse backgrounds who serve our country would be better. If our current representatives are any indication, the deck is already stacked in favor of older wealthy males. In order to see candidates who are younger, less affluent and female, slight but sensible adjustments like this one should help people, particularly mothers with young children, to have the means to run for public office.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

46 comments

Lesa D
Lesa D4 months ago

thank you Kevin...

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Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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Janis K
Janis K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Caitlin L
Caitlin L5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Tania N
Tania N5 months ago

thank you for posting

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