NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — State lawmakers are working to pass House Bill 1728. It would allow candidates running for office use campaign funds to pay for child care expenses when the candidate is engaged in campaign activity. It specifies that childcare expense would not exist in absence of the campaign.
State Representative, Megan Godfrey tells us she is seeing more parents wanting to serve their community and take on the hard work of becoming an elected official but some are limited by child care costs and that has to change.
Godfrey, who is a mother of 2 young children proposed this bill. She adds this legislation will give parents more support while on the campaign trail, knocking on doors and meeting with voters.
“As we talk to our friends, who are parents of young kids and say you should consider running for office… this is really one of those questions folks have… What can I do about the obligations that I have? This is just another way to expand access and make it a little bit easier for folks who want to serve their communities,” said Godfrey.
Local mom of seven, Kelly Krout tells us decisions are being made about women and children everyday and the state needs more women and young moms to help balance things out in office.
Krout ran for office in 2020 and didn’t win but plans to run again. Krout says hitting the campaign trail with young ones has its challenges. She was fortunate to have the support of her family and friends to help. Due to the health crisis she also had less in-person events than usual.
However, she says she knows that is not the case for every mom and dad, and the road is even tougher for single parents.
“I can absolutely imagine in a normal campaign year it would be difficult to have kids tag along, especially multiple kids. They are going to be yelling mom from the audience and that is just tricky and they are going to be bored to tears so let’s leave them home with the babysitter,” said Krout.
Krout adds that campaign funds can be used to cover travel expenses that occur while campaigning and child care expenses should not be any different.
Godfrey says several states have similar laws in place on campaign related child care expenses. She says the bill is getting bipartisan support and she expects a vote by the full senate early this week.