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Campaign Fund Idea Would Allow Spending On Caregiving

State Sen. Melinda Bush
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.


Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is the NPR Illinois News Editor and a lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and is curator of the Equity blog. Maureen joined the staff in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.