Jennifer Page: Support parents running for office

  • A stone painted with the word "VOTE" rests on the window sill of an art gallery in Peterborough, N.H., March 22, 2019.  AP PHOTO/Charles Krupa

Friday, May 17, 2019
Support parents running for office

I support H.639/S.408, “An Act Supporting Parents Running for Office.” In 2016, my 79-year-old parents moved to Amherst to live down the road from me. I didn’t know then that in 2017 I would run for Amherst School Committee. But I know that I would NOT have run if they hadn’t been able to provide back-up child care for my then 8-year-old daughter.

Amherst’s campaign season is relatively short, and so there are lots of events packed into a short time frame. I often was at a different event every evening — such as candidate forums, house parties, and canvassing. My spouse at the time was a professional musician, and often worked nights away from home. I’m one of the lucky ones — if I didn’t have grandparents at the ready, I would have sat out the election, and Amherst voters would not have had a choice that time around.

Such a situation does not serve democracy. I raised almost $5,000 in contributions which were spent on yard signs, printing costs, newspaper advertising and food and beverage for an election night gathering of my supporters. Spending campaign funds on child care is just as legitimate an expense as the $150 my campaign spent on Chinese food for the election-night party. If it’s OK to pay a worker to go out and canvass on your behalf, then it ought to be OK to pay for child care so that YOU the candidate can go out and canvass. To deny that child care is a legitimate campaign expense is to deny the life experience of scores of adults in the commonwealth who are caring for young children.

This bill is in the best interest of voters. Allowing campaign funds to be used for childcare opens up the door for a more diverse field of candidates to run for office. Thank you to Reps. Sabadosa, Domb, Blais and Sen.Comerford for their support on this important legislation. On Wednesday, May 15, the Joint Committee on Election Laws will hear testimony on this bill. I respectfully request the committee report this bill out favorably.

Jennifer Page