Pittsburgh City Council bill introduced to help political candidates access childcare | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh City Council bill introduced to help political candidates access childcare

Pittsburgh City Councilor Corey O’Connor (D-Squirrel Hill) introduced a bill on Oct. 12 to allow candidates seeking elected city offices to use campaign funds for childcare during an election cycle. Councilors Erika Strassburger, Daniel Lavelle, Deborah Gross, Bruce Kraus, and Theresa Kail-Smith co-sponsored the bill.

If passed, the bill will amend the city code’s chapter on campaign finance regulation, and it will allow a candidate’s committee to use campaign funds for childcare expenses incurred while the candidate is engaging in campaign activity.

“A lot of candidates have kids and want to get involved, but you have to pay for childcare,” O’Connor says in an interview with City Paper. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average cost for infant care for one child in Pennsylvania is nearly $1,000 a month, which takes up 17.5% of a median family’s income in the state.

The amendment states that childcare includes, but is not limited to, professional or casual baby-sitting services, nonprofit or for-profit childcare services, and other costs directly related to childcare. Pre-primary, primary, and secondary education is not included, and childcare expenses cannot include payments to a member of the candidate’s household or family.

Since campaign activities can occur during any time of day or night, the bill could help ensure that the cost of childcare will not be prohibitive for candidates, “so a candidate doesn’t have to worry about where their child is going to be when they’re out campaigning,” says O’Connor.

The bill will be up for discussion next Wed., Oct. 20, during the Standing Council meeting.