DID YOU KNOW: if you run for state or local office in Massachusetts, you can pay for a tuxedo rental with campaign funds, BUT you can’t pay for childcare during campaign activities (like a fundraiser event or door-to-door canvassing) with campaign funds.
Like many other components of election law in Massachusetts, this only serves to strengthen incumbent retention, with the effect of having fewer progressives, parents from low-income households, single parents, and especially progressive women run for office.
After urging OCPF (the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance) to make this change (going back *years*) to allow for campaign funds to be spent on childcare during campaign activities, it was determined that a legislative fix was necessary. Progressive legislators advanced the legislation, before it was scuttled by then-Speaker (and status quo fetishist) Bob DeLeo and turned from legislation into a commission to “study” the issue, an issue that needed no further study. We knew then and know now what the (very simple and clear) fix is.
The study’s results came in and the finding is that the Commonwealth should do what we urged *in the first place*: allow campaign funds to cover the cost of childcare during campaign activities.
So there’s a shiny new Boston Globe editorial this morning advocating for our policy. Hopefully this is a precursor to generating the political will to pass into law this policy that will diminish childcare costs as an obstacle to running for office, a policy that already exists at the federal level (if you run for Congress, the FEC – the Federal Election Commission – already allows paying for childcare with campaign funds) and in about seventeen states (and not just the blue or purple states – on this policy, Massachusetts is less progressive than Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, and Alabama, for example).
Legislation this legislative session to address this has been sponsored by Pat Jehlen in the Senate (Senate Docket 994 – official bill number to come soon) and by Mike Connolly and Joan Meschino in the House (House Docket 1418 – official bill number to come soon). Check the links to see if your State Senator and State Representative are signed on as co-sponsors. If not, contact their offices to sign on as co-sponsors to strengthen access to the democratic process in the Commonwealth.