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New York, NY – Today, the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council rallied alongside Council Member Keith Powers, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, the New York City Council Women’s Caucus, Planned Parenthood NYC Votes PAC, the National Organization for Women (NOW) NYC and the 21 in ’21 Initiative to call for passage of Intro. 899, a bill that would allow local candidates to use campaign funds to cover certain childcare expenses when the candidate is the primary caregiver.

While available to all parents and guardians, Intro. 899 will specifically benefit women seeking office, as they tend to be the primary caregiver in families. Moreover, research has showed that the responsibility of child rearing has historically been a barrier for women considering political ambitions, and may contribute to the lack of women representation in political office. This legislation is an important first step in ensuring more women are able to run, and win, local elected office. Intro 899 received the formal endorsement of the Progressive Caucus, and we strongly encourage our colleagues in the City Council to support this important legislation.

“All expenses make a difference when you are running for office, but some are significant enough to make or break a would-be candidate’s decision to run. In a time when we need more women and new ideas in government, I am proud to introduce legislation that confronts hurdles to run for office,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and lead sponsor of Intro. 899. “There is no doubt that this bill will benefit women who are new mothers, and men who are new fathers, who have made the decision to run for office. New York City can now line up with federal election regulations around childcare.”

“Allowing candidates to utilize campaign funds for childcare expenses will encourage more women with young children to run for office, especially as female representation is needed throughout municipal government,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “As a mother, grandmother, and newly elected Council Member, I am proud to sponsor this important piece of legislation with my colleagues.”

“To build a democracy that truly reflects our diverse communities, we need to eliminate the barriers keeping qualified women from running for office. This legislation would be a game changer in the movement to increase women’s representation in all levels of City government,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, member of the Progressive Caucus and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “This legislation not only reforms the campaign finance process, a system that has benefited the status quo for too long — it affirms our City’s longstanding commitment to inclusion and gender equity.  I am proud to join Council Member Keith Powers, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and my fellow colleagues on this effort to create more opportunities for women in local leadership to run for office, and pave the way for a future where New Yorkers of every community can see themselves reflected in their government.”

“One of the most common reasons women tell me they won’t run for office in New York is because of the cost – both financially and emotionally on their families. Now that the Federal Election Commission has ruled that federal candidates can use campaign funds to pay for child care costs, it is time that we codify the same rules here at the city level of government,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, member of the Progressive Caucus and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “I want to commend my Council colleagues for introducing this legislation, as well as New York Democratic House candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley, whose successful fight at the FEC is now paving the way for New York and municipalities across the country to finally give parents of young children a fair opportunity to seek and win elected office.”

“I am proud to stand with my colleagues as a co-sponsor of Introduction 899. For too long, childcare has been dismissed as an afterthought, rather than a necessity. As a mother who knows firsthand the magnitude of time and resources required to raise one’s young children, it is obvious to me that childcare is as vital to the smooth function of a primary caregiver’s election campaign as any other expenditure,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, member of the Progressive Caucus and Chair of the Committee on Women. “With an unprecedented number of women running for office across the country, New York City has an opportunity here to codify an unassailable standard of inclusivity and respect in our campaign law. I encourage my fellow Council Members to pass this imperative and timely piece of legislation.”

“We should be doing everything we can to make it easier for people to run for office. By allowing childcare expenses to be considered a campaign expense, more candidates, especially women, will be able to run for office,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, member of the Progressive Caucus. “A bigger pool of candidates from more diverse backgrounds will better serve the interests of regular people.”

“Allowing candidates in New York City to use campaign funds to cover qualified childcare costs will go a long way in improving representation in the Council,” said Council Member Brad Lander, member of the Progressive Caucus. “Many parents, particularly women, see childcare as a real obstacle in running for office, and the numbers show that we need to be doing much more to make it easier for women to run. Liuba Grechen Shirley’s landmark victory with the FEC is a great step forward federally, and now it’s time to take this issue on in the City. I thank my colleague Keith Powers for introducing this bill, and I’m proud to join him in championing this cause.”

This piece of legislation falls within the Progressive Caucus’ policy platform “Resistance & Progress: 18 Progressive Policies for 2018,” that supports renewing our democracy, supporting diversity in political representation and working to make New York City a more just and equitable city for all.

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