HomeLearning CenterWhy We Need to Let Parents Use Campaign Funds for Childcare

Why We Need to Let Parents Use Campaign Funds for Childcare

Originally published by Jocelyn Yow for Ms. Magazine

As a young woman of color, I have faced many barriers throughout my political career. Nevertheless, I won my election for Eastvale City Council in California at the age of 23. Then I became the youngest woman of color to serve as mayor of a California city at 25. It’s been a rewarding journey, but it hasn’t been easy. Balancing public service with parenthood is difficult—prompting the need for childcare support for working-class parents running for political office across America. 

Before I decided to run for council again, childcare was my number one concern before everything else, and I wasn’t alone. I know many other moms who shared the same concern about running for office with a child. A friend of mine—who first ran for a local California water board seat in 2018 with three young children—racked up $15,000 in credit card debt on childcare alone when she was running.

Childcare affects candidates both up and down the ballot—local races tend to attract fewer resources and donors, while city elected officials are still tasked with making major decisions affecting constituents’ lives.

When I first decided to run for reelection in Eastvale, I knew childcare would be a challenge. There are only so many events you can bring a baby along to, but I wanted to continue serving my community. It would have been extremely challenging to run for office again without any childcare assistance, so I had to be very creative to cover my childcare needs. In addition to taking my son to daycare, I called family and friends close by to ask if they could help with caring for my son; my parents came from Arizona. It really does take a village to raise a child, and I could not have been successful without my friends and family. 

I knew I would need to fundraise even more to cover the extra childcare expense when running for reelection. But women typically raise half-a-million dollars less than men in congressional races. When running for a position, candidates are in it to win it, prompting them to spend money reaching voters via advertising, texting, email, etc. Naturally, childcare is going to compete with those other priorities.

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