Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District


December 20, 2022

Senate Passes Bill Supporting Parents Running for Public Office

Legislation would recognize childcare costs as a valid campaign expense

BOSTON– On Thursday, December 15, 2022, the Massachusetts State Senate passed legislation that would support parents running for public office by recognizing childcare as a valid campaign expense.

“Public service is a personal choice made more complicated and daunting for working parents, especially women, who face the added costs of childcare,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “While we’ve made great strides in diversifying our electoral representation in Massachusetts, there is much more we can do to make the decision to run for office easier for people with kids. I want to thank Senator Jehlen for championing this issue and look forward to it advancing in the legislative process.”

“Proud to join my Senate colleagues to engross a commonsense bill to allow campaign funds to be used to pay for childcare,” said State Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “Running for public office can be a daunting task in and of itself. Often women, in addition to parents who cannot afford the cost of childcare, are inhibited from running for office. This legislation changes that norm. I would like to thank Senate President Spilka, Senator Jehlen and Representatives Meschino and Connolly for their leadership. As Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators Co-Chair and a proud co-sponsor of this bill, I will continue to advocate for its passage.”

“This bill would break down a major barrier to open elective office to people who have traditionally not had that opportunity,” said Senator Patricia D. Jehlen (D-Sommerville), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “Many of us currently in office would not be here today if we didn’t have trusted people taking care of our kids while we knocked doors for our first campaigns. Allowing campaign finances to be used for childcare means that more people in our communities can participate than ever before and amplify the voices of those who have previously not been heard.”

Under the bill, a political candidate would be able to expend campaign funds for childcare costs, using money raised in support of a political campaign. The bill tasks the Director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance with the creation of regulation to oversee the implementation of this change.

The bill now heads to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.