SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A state lawmaker is running a bill to ease some of the challenges parents face while running for public office.
State law is vague on whether a candidate can use campaign funds on childcare expenses. This bill will make it clear that it is acceptable for parents of all types.
As a single mother of seven, Michelle Quist knows just how crazy the juggling act can be.
A recent run for the Salt Lake County Council took that to a new level.
“There were campaign events, and there were campaign meetings and fundraising, and on the phone, and on the emails, and you know, there was always something to be doing. And yet, the kids still, you know, needed their mom and needed care,” said Quist.
She says one thing that can help is using campaign funds to cover childcare costs.
That’s something that has caught the attention of Representative Craig Hall.
“States are actually divided on this issue. There are a few states that specifically allow it, and there are some states that have ruled against it,” said Hall, (R) West Valley City.
Hall says Utah’s law is left to interpretation, and he wants to change that.
“My bill would make it perfectly clear that an individual running for political office can use campaign funds for childcare while campaigning,” he said.
Hall hopes it will help push prospective candidates over the edge.
“We have so many wonderful, capable, competent people in the state who would make wonderful leaders, who would make wonderful public officials,” Hall said.
Quist believes it will open the door, especially for women.
“Childcare mostly falls on women. And, whether they are working, even if they aren’t working, they are out campaigning if they become a candidate, you know, they either have to find a babysitter, they have to pay a babysitter or they have to bring the children with them,” said Quist.
Hall says he’s seeing strong bipartisan support for the bill. He’s still drafting it but hopes to include state, county, and municipal candidates.