The Federal Election Commission decided unanimously on Thursday to allow a Democratic congressional candidate from New York to spend campaign funds on childcare.
The decision came after testimony Thursday from Liuba Grechen Shirley, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to face off against sitting Rep. Pete King (R-NY) in November. According to FEC Vice Chair Ellen Weintraub, Grechen Shirley’s request received letters of support from 26 members of Congress and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others.
“It’ll change the way that people run for office,” Grechen Shirley said on a video posted to her campaign Facebook page at the start of a thoroughly-documented trip to the FEC in Washington, D.C. to advocate for her position.
Grechen Shirley, who has two small children, wrote in her request for an advisory opinion last month that before deciding to run for Congress, she worked from home and cared for her and her husband’s children full time.
“Since my campaign started, I have had to hire a part-time care giver for my children, so I can fulfill the responsibilities that go along with being a candidate for office,” she said.
She pointed to two prior advisory opinions that applied to male candidates for office who were allowed to use campaign funds for childcare expenses.
“I’m proud to be the first woman in the country to spend federal campaign money on childcare. I hope this decision inspires thousands of women across the country to run for office,” Grechen Shirley told Newsday in an interview after the FEC had made their decision.