FAMILY PLATFORM

This election night photo is a victory for working parents

High-five.
High-five.
Image: AP Photo/Steve Helber
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For a working parent, the moments your family can celebrate professional achievements with you are particularly special.

When newly elected Virginia representative Abigail Spanberger took the podium in Richmond to deliver her acceptance speech on Tuesday (Nov. 6) after an upset victory over incumbent Dave Brat, her 4-year-old daughter was there with her. Spanberger, a former CIA operative and federal law enforcement official, held her for part of the speech; in other parts, Catherine entertained herself, as 4-year-olds are wont to do.

The photos of Spanberger and her daughter celebrate the end of an election that will send a record number of women to Washington in January. It was also a campaign in which more candidates than ever before were willing to let voters see some of the reality of balancing work and family, beyond just trotting out perfectly coiffed children at key campaign stops.

The US Federal Election Commission ruled the week before the election that candidates can use campaign funds to pay for childcare, after New York congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley requested permission to pay a babysitter the necessary overtime to watch her daughter as she took to the trail. (Grechen Shirley ultimately lost to incumbent Peter King.) Her request opened elected office to people who don’t have vast personal fortunes to hire paid care or spouses whose full-time job is handling duties at home.

Balancing work and family—sometimes at the very same time—is a familiar position for any working person who also cares for family. The election of representatives who do the same, and are willing to show it, is a welcome sight.