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November 20, 2018

New York City Council passes bill to allow candidates to use campaign donations to pay for childcare

November 1, 2018
Council member for the 35th District of the New York City Council Laurie Cumbo attends BAM’s 30th Annual Tribute To Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on January 18, 2016 in New York City. (Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images)

Juggling a baby and a campaign is poised to get a little easier.

The City Council passed legislation Wednesday that would allow candidates to use campaign donations to pay for childcare in election years and the year prior.




The local legislation follows similar rulings by the federal government — in response to the candidacy of congressional candidate and mom Grechen Shirley Liuba — and from the state making similar allowances for campaigning parents.

“We have I think a great responsibility in this city to make sure that anybody that wants to run for office has the opportunity to do so,” Councilman Keith Powers (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the bill, said.

He hoped the legislation would allow parents to “not look at their parenting as a barrier to running for office.”

Candidates will not be able to spend public matching funds for childcare. The spending must be on children 13 or under, and the child must need care because of the campaign. Campaign staffers will not be able to use campaign cash for childcare under the proposed law.

The first $20,000 in childcare expenses would be exempted from the city’s spending limits for candidates.

Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Brooklyn), a co-sponsor of the bill, recalled having a two-month old baby last year on Election Day.

“It was certainly very difficult to run for office having a newborn,” she said. “For me, I was fortunate that I had an entire team of people supporting me — not everyone is going to have Speaker Corey Johnson babysitting their child like I did.”

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