“Child care is not just a woman’s issue, it’s an issue of national strength,” said Illinois U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Thursday during the Michigan Caring Economy Roundtable.
The Democrat, and first U.S. senator to give birth while in office, made the statement as she endorsed presidential candidate Joe Biden’s child-care plan, which he outlined this week. The plan calls for tax credits and state funding subsidies to make child care more affordable and accessible, along with universal preschool.
Like the July 17 online listening session conducted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Jill Biden—the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden—the online Michigan Caring Economy Roundtable made a strong pitch to Michigan workers and organized labor. The program was moderated by Jeannette Bradshaw, secretary-treasurer of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58 recording secretary. And included among the participating working mothers on the Roundtable was Deandrea Murray, a mother of four children, who also is a professional daycare and child care provider in Southfield.
During the program, Murray stated “child care is the backbone of this country.” Murray’s statement is supported by Joe Biden’s child care plan, which includes pay increases to child caregivers and early educators and bonuses to child-care providers working during nontraditional hours. The importance of the latter point was made multiple times by the Roundtable’s speakers, who described an existing child care void for Michigan parents working jobs—particularly manufacturing jobs—with shifts during hours when children are not attending school or after-school programs.
In her closing remarks, Sen. Duckworth said: “The road to the White House goes through Michigan and the Midwest.” And she followed that statement by expressing her support for the reelection of Michigan U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, whom Sen. Duckworth referred to as a champion for child care, small businesses and the Great Lakes, and someone who will be needed in Senate to potentially push through Joe Biden’s child-care plan.
By Scott Talley