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Public Health New Mexico

ABQ OKs Using Campaign Funds For Child Care

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It just got a little easier for people raising kids to run for public office in Albuquerque. The city announced this week a change to election rules that allows campaign funds to be used to pay for child care.

Getting a good babysitter to watch your kids while you knock on doors can be expensive – up to a few thousand dollars a month, said Diane Denish, former lieutenant governor of New Mexico.

She ran for office and chaired the state’s Democratic Party while she had three school-age kids. "My husband was my family support system," Denish said. "But if he needed to go with me, or if we were driving, there were times when we had to think about overnight care."

Denish says there were a few years when she no longer had that kind of support, and during that time she wasn’t able to be as involved in politics at all.

"I never would have considered running during the time I was a single mother," Denish said. "Because it would have been a burden in many ways."

The rule change is meant to reduce barriers for women candidates. Men still hold most of the elected positions in New Mexico.

In 2018, the Federal Elections Commission ruled that campaign funds can cover childcare, but that change has been slow to take hold around the country.

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Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.

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