By Becky Fogel, July 30, 2019 | Texas Standard
Texas Democrat MJ Hegar can use campaign funds to cover childcare costs while running for U.S. Senate.
This FEC ruling builds on one involving former New York congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley. Grechen Shirley explains she sought to use campaign funds to cover childcare costs she had to start paying in order to run for office.
“I had two small children, my children were 1 and 3 when I launched my campaign,” Grechen Shirley says. “And my mother is a public school teacher, she’d work til 3:30 and she’d come home and watch them then, but I had then with me during the first few months of the campaign everyday until 3:30 and it wasn’t sustainable.”
Grechen Shirley says the FEC’s decision on Hegar’s request broadens when campaign funds can be used for childcare expenses.
“MJ took it one step further, she was already paying for childcare, so this request that they granted for her, said regardless of the fact that you were already campaigning for this childcare, if it’s during the hours that you’re campaigning you can continue to use your campaign funds for childcare,” Grechen Shirley says.
Grechen Shirley now runs a group called Vote Mama that works to elect Democratic moms running for office. MJ Hegar is actually a member of the group’s advisory committee. She explains they want candidates around the country to have access to this type of support.
“We are working, Vote Mama, is actually working to get all 50 states to approve this for state and local candidates. We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how quickly it has expanded this year.” Grechen Shirley says.
Candidates running for state office in Texas are already allowed to use campaign contributions to cover childcare costs.