July 30, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Allowing Candidates to Use Campaign Funds for Child Care Expenses, Enabling More Women to Run for Public Office

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Governor Cuomo: "By signing this measure into law, we will build on the historic progress we've made toward gender equality and empower more parents - and mothers in particular - to seek public office to ensure the decision makers in Albany reflect the people they are elected to represent."

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.2680A/A.1108B) to allow state and local candidates to use campaign funds to pay for child care expenses, enabling more parents to run for public office.

"Women face too many barriers when it comes to running for office and frankly child care expenses shouldn't be one of them," Governor Cuomo said. "By signing this measure into law, we will build on the historic progress we've made toward gender equality and empower more parents - and mothers in particular - to seek public office to ensure the decision makers in Albany reflect the people they are elected to represent."

"We are committed to continuing to break down barriers for women in New York," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the NYS Child Care Availability Task Force. "I know firsthand the challenges mothers, and all parents, face running for office and balancing responsibilities at home, work, and on the campaign trail. Despite more women being elected in the state and nationwide, women are still underrepresented at all levels of public office. This legislation will make it easier for women to run for office and advances our efforts to achieve full equality for all."

Specifically, the bill amends state election law to allow campaign funds to be used to pay child care expenses that are "incurred in the campaign or in the execution of the duties of public office or party position." The bill's provisions are effective in 60 days.

In New York, about 33 percent of the state's executive and legislative officials are women, compared with a national average of 29 percent of state executive and legislative officials, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.   

Governor Cuomo launched the Child Care Availability Task Force in 2018, which is tasked with examining solutions to ensure that families of all income levels have access to child care in New York without risking their employment or the quality of care. Additionally, the FY 2019 Enacted Budget provided more than $800 million dedicated to helping low-income families access child care.    

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, "Today is a historic day for parents, particularly mothers, across New York State. I am thrilled that my bill allowing state and local candidates to use campaign funds for child care expenses was signed into law. Child care expenses are a heavy burden for many families across the state, and these expenses should not prohibit qualified parents from seeking public office. This new law will allow more young parents to run for public office, and we need their experiences represented in government. Thank you to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his leadership, and thank you to former congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley for spearheading this important issue nationally."

Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal said, "'Run, momma, run,' is the rallying cry for the cadre of women and mothers who are considering and running for elective office. This law will encourage more women to run, ensuring that legislators begin to look more like the communities they represent. By making child care an allowable campaign expense, we pay more than mere lip service to that reality, and begin dismantling some of the institutional barriers that women and mothers continue to face."

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