New York congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley has called her successful bid to use campaign funds for child care a “game changer” in politics.
“This will allow more women to run for office,” she told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
Grechen Shirley, a Democrat, became the first woman to get federal approval to use campaign funds for child care after she petitioned the Federal Electoral Commission last month.
“Running for office is a 24/7 job. It’s all-consuming and there is no salary,” she said. “So it’s very difficult for people who are not independently wealthy to take a year off from your life and forgo a salary and run for office 24/7 and also pick up the additional cost of child care that’s necessary.”
“Our babysitter is just as integral to our team as my campaign manager,” she added.
Appearing before the FEC with her 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, she requested the $22-per-hour child care expenses she incurred as a result of joining the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat be covered by campaign dollars. Her request was approved last week.
“Right now congress is only 15% female. We need more women to run for office, we need more people of color, and we need more people of diverse backgrounds… So we can have a more representative government of our society,” Grechen Shirley said.
“My opponent voted against paid family leave, and he voted against equal pay for women for equal work. These are the types of discussions we need to be having, and we need to change the type of person we send to Washington to have those.”
She explained how most women wait until their children are grown before considering a political bid and that leads to a critical voice missing in Congress.
“The average age for women who run for office right now is 52 years old,” she told Bolduan. “When you’re in the thick of it with young children, you understand how paid family leave affects you at a visceral level. … We need those voices in congress.”