Which Candidate will be good for Child Care?

By Jacalyn S Burke,

I hope to remain bipartisan in this post – in part because for the first time in my life I hope to vote and I intend to vote as an independent. Prior to this election I will have become an American citizen after 14 years of visas and a Green Card. I’m ready.

I don’t take the responsibility lightly. Sure, I have paid tax since my arrival but that alone hasn’t qualified me to cast a vote. It takes time to understand a country and a people. To join the collective one must truly comprehend the privilege of voting and what one’s vote can accomplish.

I haven’t made my mind up 100%. It’s easy to demonize a candidate like Donald Trump of course. But one cannot deny that he is connecting with a sizable base. On the other end of the spectrum stands Bernie Sanders – another representative of the economically oppressed. At the center is Hillary Clinton and to her immediate, religious Right is Ted Cruz.

As a woman basic things like access to affordable health care through organizations like Planned Parenthood is important. For many child care workers this provider is their only choice – and choice is vital in a free and open society. Ted Cruz has threatened an investigation into Planned Parenthood should he become President. That feels like a troubling over-reach of his Constitutional power to me. Trump is somewhat ambivalent towards Planned Parenthood. Clinton and Sanders would leave it alone.

A second issue I feel strongly about is immigration reform. This isn’t just because I am an immigrant. Mostly it’s due to working alongside undocumented child care workers and seeing how hard they work with little hope of a path to citizenship and a better future. For opponents of amnesty, I do understand the fear of simply creating a new vacuum but there are ways to make it more difficult for Americans to hire undocumented workers. This I believe is the true source of the problem. For those undocumented workers already here and paying local taxes, and spending their wages in the local community, and contributing to our economy by enabling American parents to work – we need to bring them in and out of the shadows. It is an humanitarian cause. Which candidate is open to immigration reform? On this subject I suspect only the Democrats have a solid plan – but I could be wrong.

The third concern I have is the lack of Federal support for working parents. Our country must enact sweeping reforms in parental leave, equal pay and in recognizing the pressures that working families experience in sourcing affordable child care, if we are to compete and grow within the global community. Even basic unregistered or unlicensed child care is cost-prohibitive for some parents. Others can spend up to a third of their joint income on child care – that is unsustainable. The Constitution stands for all citizens, including children, and our government has the ability to implement changes in the tax code to accommodate child care costs. We can also entertain the idea of establishing affordable, national, government-subsidized daycare centers. We have done it before, we can do it again.

Which candidate speaks about “women’s issues” without offering empty platitudes? Child care remains a primary “woman’s issue” but the effects of poor child care affects everyone. As nannies we should ask ourselves “which candidate will embrace child care reform?”

Of course, I am also deeply concerned with the economy and National Security. So I am looking for a candidate that can stand up for American workers and for our freedoms. We need a strong leader in these troubling times. As the primaries come and go, and candidates stand or fall, I hope that time will shape my choice. I will cast my vote with pride but also with a keen sense of responsibility to my fellow Americans. For those of us fortunate enough to be eligible to vote, exercising that right has never been so important. Together we can bring about lasting change – one ballot at a time.