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Of mother's day & elections

3478183634_27126c08e4On Friday, April 30th: My ballot arrived.  19 days and counting.  Who to vote for? 

On Saturday, May 1st: I grabbed the May issue of Metro Parent and read a great article with an (even better?) title: "A Mother's Place is in the House... and Senate!  How Female Politicians Nurture Family-Friendly Policies." 

Coincidence?  Perhaps.  Fortuitous?  Absolutely. 

How we vote, of course, has loads of implications for everything from war to wave energy to pumping breast milk in the (probably dark) broom closet at work ... and beyond.  I don't know about you, but I want my votes to let candidates know that how they approach the public policies that affect families is key to winning my vote. 

Of course we all have our top issues - environment, jobs, education, health care, etc....  Mine just happens to be work-family policy (OK, and toxics).  But even if it's not yours, I think it's very worth adding to your 'top 10' list.  If you, too, want to live in an Oregon where workers (and our grown children) have access to paid family leave and paid sick days and can find convenient, high-quality childcare that's actually affordable (among other things), it makes good sense to vote for the candidates who will make that a reality.

Unfortunately, there's no candidate scorecard for this yet (that I know of) - maybe someday soon.  So for now, it's easy to just pick up the phone and simply ask them this:

"What's in your platform to support Oregon families during your first/next term in elected office? Paid family leave?  Paid sick days?  Any ideas on making childcare more affordable and consistently high quality?"

The more they hear from us, the more likely they are to support progressive family policies.  Just raising these issues makes a difference.  Maybe they don't know that child care costs as much as a college education - even though we all do.

Want to learn more? 

[Thanks to Flickr CC & kainr for the familar gray clouds and shiny Gold Man atop the Oregon state capitol]


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Getting more women in political office, both here and abroad, is really the key to making true progress toward a world with less suffering and more hope for all. The article after "A Mother's Place is in the House ... and Senate" in Metro Parent's May issue is also an eye-opener. Be sure to read it on page 32 at this link: http://www.metro-parent.com/issues/may10/index.html. The two minute video on The Girl Effect has got to be the most powerful short video I've ever seen. Amazing stuff! And very empowering!

oops - forgot to put the link to the Girl Effect video: http://www.youtube.com/girleffect

I can't say I totally agree with all of your post, Jen. As much as I agree with the general sentiment, I don't agree with this part: "Getting more women in political office, both here and abroad, is really the key to making true progress toward a world with less suffering and more hope for all." I can't help but think of certain politicians who do not support a progressive family policies. A politician's actual platform and stance on the issues that affect families is more important than the politician's gender, IMO. Being a woman in office doesn't automatically mean one is going to support paid family leave.

Hi TJ:

I absolutely respect your opinion. And I think I felt the same way before I read the book Half the Sky. Along with many other messages, that book (written by Oregonian Nicholas Kristof and his wife) talks about the enormous difference it makes in Third World countries when women are represented in government bodies: Public health and family-friendly policies are championed and passed. Communities and countries become healthier, safer.

To be sure there are female politicians who do not support these issues - and male politicians who do. But I think the statistics pretty solidly support the notion that when more women are making policy decisions, it's a big plus for families and children.

one more thing, TJ: I absolutely did not mean that we should all blindly and universally always vote for the woman running for the office! But it seems pretty clear from the evidence that engaging women in the political process is a win for families and kids...

I would add toxicity to the list of issues that are important to families--toxicity in our air, water, soil, food, toys, etc. We live in a very toxic world and we suffer from all the related diseases. I live in North Portland near Peninsula park. We just found out that our child has chronic arsenic poisoning. According to the USA Today "Smokestack Report," that arsenic is likely coming from a facility just north of us on the Columbia River. In order to change things, we're going to need legislators to champion these issues. I will vote for those who make it clear that toxins in our environment are a high priority.

Oops, I tried to add the link to the USA Today Smokestack Report but it didn't get included.

Go to this site and enter your neighborhood school to what is in the air that your family breathes every day: http://content.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/smokestack/index

Let's get organized and demand better from our legislators!!

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