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Campaign Fund Idea Would Allow Spending On Caregiving

Illinois Senate Democrats
State Sen. Melinda Bush

A proposal advancing through the Illinois General Assembly would allow candidates for public office to use political committee funds to cover caregiving costs. 

Sen. Melinda Bush, a Democrat from Grayslake, says the idea would hopefully boost the number of women running for office because caregiving duties are most often fulfilled by women.

“Many times …women are particular, there's a deterrent because they have children and or adult care dependents that live with them. And there's just no way for them to get out and campaign,’’  Bush said.

Currently, 17 states allow campaign funds to be used for hiring caregivers, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The Federal Election Commission also allows campaign funds to be used for caregiving.

But a similar effort considered by the legislature two years ago failed.

Several other states, including Indiana and Missouri, are considering similar measures

The effort is supported by groups like Reform for Illinois. 

That organization’s executive director, Alisa Kaplan, says the move would help diversify the candidate pool in Illinois.

“Right now, people may have to choose between caring for their family and serving their communities. And this would be kind of a commonsense way of making it easier for people with different economic and family circumstances to run for office,” Kaplan said.


Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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