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Herrera Beutler an advocate for having more mothers serving in government

The congresswoman in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, is no stranger to campaigning with children.

The Battle Ground Republican has had three children since she was first elected in 2010. It’s a distinction that sets her apart from nearly every other federal lawmaker in U.S. history — she shares it only with her mentor and fellow conservative Washington congresswoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane.

“When I first ran for office, both political parties talked about wanting more young people, more parents and more women to be involved in politics — but there wasn’t a lot of action being taken to actually help folks who relied heavily on child care,” Herrera Beutler said in an email Friday to The Columbian. “Since that time, policymakers have gone beyond the rhetoric and started putting forth actual solutions to help working parents because they recognize the reality that, for the most part, moms work and both parents work now in America.”

Herrera Beutler said she’s taken advantage of an option that lets federal candidates use campaign contributions to pay for child care, following a 2018 decision from the Federal Election Commission that such uses of political donations were permitted. She also supported the Help America Run Act, which affirmed the FEC’s ruling and passed the House in October.

“Each time I’ve given birth, I’ve had political opponents say that I should step down and be at home with my kids with the inference that it’s where I ‘should be,’ ” Herrera Beutler wrote. “But having kids while serving in Congress has actually solidified my view that we need more mothers serving in government than ever before to push for solutions — regarding maternal and infant health, child care, and others — that meet parents where they’re at today.”

From a practical perspective, she added, it’s not unusual to have kids in tow at political events. Herrera Beutler’s youngest daughter, 7-month-old Isana, was a semi-regular fixture on Capitol Hill.

“Every single family has more tasks than time or energy to do them, and like all those families, we just make it work,” Herrera Beutler wrote.

Herrera Beutler’s two major 2020 challengers, Democrats Carolyn Long and Peter Khalil, are also parents. Neither responded to The Columbian’s request for comment.

Long is a political science professor at Washington State University Vancouver running a second bid for Congress and is a mother to a daughter, Tennyson.

Khalil, a newcomer to politics and a Vancouver-based mediator, has a son, Adrian, who makes occasional lighthearted appearances on his campaign’s Facebook page.


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