Wis. treasurer candidate clears up using donations for childcare expenses
WISCONSIN (WAOW) -
A record number of woman are running for political office across the nation, and in Wisconsin.
And there's hurdles to overcome.
Cynthia Kaump is running for state treasurer in Wisconsin and admits there are barriers for women candidates that men sometimes do not face.
“Running as a woman in this old boy’s club nation can be incredibly challenging,” Kaump said.
For mothers who are running, there can be even greater challenges.
“Running a statewide campaign is stifling, financially and emotionally and physically. The added child care expenses is extraordinary,” said Kaump, a single mother with one daughter.
Kaump said it was a congresswomen in New York who gave her the idea to research using campaign donations for child care expenses. Liuba Gretchen Shirley had asked for permission to use her campaign funds for such costs.
The Federal Ethics Commission authorized it.
Kaump began thinking about the rules in Wisconsin.
“We were the first state in the 1920s to pass a civil rights law so I thought for certain a state which is so progressive as Wisconsin would have been way ahead of the Federal Elections Commission. To my dismay, that was not true,” Kaump said.
So Kaump got together with her campaign team and wrote a letter to Wisconsin's Ethics Commission requesting that they allow her to use campaign funds to pay for her daughter's childcare expenses.
Kaump received a letter back saying she could, making her the first woman to clear up the issue.
State Representative Melissa Sargent said she believes that Kaump has removed barriers that were keeping many mothers, and fathers, from running.
“It encourages more women to know that they can too, and it’s something they should do in order to help make the communities better places for them,” Sargent said.
“In order to have our communities and our laws represent the people that are in them more fairly, and represent them in a more equitable way, we need to have the folks of the community at the table, whether that’s women, people of color, LGBT, or immigrants,” Sargent said.
Kaump says this ruling can encourage qualified candidates to run.
“I don’t want to see any financial roadblock keeping someone who has leadership skills and the passion to serve in public office, not be able to do that," Sargent said.