Want Women to Run for Congress? First We Need Someone to Watch Our Kids

Along with hundreds of women nationwide, I decided to run for office. Just a year ago, I was consulting for nonprofit organizations from home while raising a newborn and a toddler; running for Congress seemed impossible. But after spending a year hearing my representative, Pete King, R-N.Y., defend President Donald Trump; watching King vote to take away health care from nearly 74,000 people in our district; and setting up town halls that King refused to attend, I started to think seriously about running. When I finally met with King and he told me he thought town halls "diminished democracy," I knew I had to run.At the start, I was told I had to raise $100,000 in the first quarter to be taken seriously as a candidate. Daunted but undeterred, I wrote a list of every person I've ever known and starting dialing. Three days a week, I would drop off my daughter at nursery school, put my 1-year-old son in his stroller, and walk around our neighborhood making calls to donors. I spent my afternoons nursing my son, while my daughter covered my head in hair clips, with my phone attached to my ear.My mother was able to watch my babies every day after 3:30 p.m., which allowed me to head out the door, meet residents and attend community meetings. For two months, I built forts, changed diapers and made lunch while talking to donors, and I raised $126,114 in our first quarter. But this schedule was unsustainable, and I no longer wondered why more mothers with young children weren't running for Congress.Women hold less than 20 percent of the seats in Congress, and even fewer are mothers with young children. It's easy to see why. Every new mom considering a run for office has thought about Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who is struggling with the question of how to breast-feed since her infant won't be allowed on the Senate floor. We've seen Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., holding her son's hand from outside the Senate chambers and leaning her head in to cast a vote.  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us