6 Celebration-Worthy Down-Ballot 2020 Election Wins for Parents

As the U.S. turns the page on the election and ushers in a promising new era led by President-Elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Harris, parents can celebrate a variety of wins—from moms who scored major offices to child care reform.

A father standing outside holding his baby, with an "I Voted Today" sticker on his thumb
Photo: Getty Images

With the election in the rearview mirror and a new chapter, led by President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, on the horizon, families from coast to coast are celebrating a variety of wins. From the election of moms like Cori Bush in Missouri to state ballot measures to secure family leave, here are just a few reasons parents can celebrate the results of the 2020 election.

1. Oregon County Passes "Preschool for All"

In what could definitely be seen as a key step toward universal preschool, Multnomah County, Oregon—which includes the city of Portland—approved Measure 26-214, which will offer tuition-free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds in public schools and in existing and new private preschools and home-based child care centers while boosting the pay of preschool teachers. The county plans to pay for the program with a tax on high-income residents.

According to the New York Times, early childhood researchers say the policy could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country.

2. Colorado Approves Paid Family Leave

Colorado state lawmakers have been trying—and failing—to pass paid family leave legislation since 2014, so parents in Colorado worked to put the question of guaranteed family leave to the state's voters by getting it on the ballot. And on Tuesday, Colorado residents said yes to Proposition 118, which, according to FastCompany.com, is being seen as "one of the most expansive paid family leave programs in the country."

In fact, the new program will give 2.6 million people in Colorado access to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave if they need to take care of a sick loved one, recover from an illness, or tend to a new child. Family members of active-duty military personnel and victims of domestic violence or sexual assault are also covered by the program. Anyone who is pregnant or faces childbirth complications will be eligible for an additional four weeks of paid leave. When the program fully takes effect in 2024, workers could receive up to 90 percent of their weekly pay, albeit no more than $1,100 per week.

Funded through a 0.9 percent tax on an employee’s annual pay split evenly between the employee and employer, Prop 118 will create a social insurance program similar to those that already exist in states including New Jersey and California, according to the Denver Post.

3. Cori Bush Becomes the First Black Woman to Represent Missouri in Congress

The single mom, nurse, former COVID patient, and activist who got involved in politics following the killing of Michael Brown in 2014, Bush has become the first Black woman from Missouri to be elected to Congress. On election night, Bush delivered a powerful speech, stating, "As the first Black woman, nurse, and single mother to have the honor to represent Missouri in the United States Congress, let me just say this. To the Black women. The Black girls. The nurses. The single mothers. The essential workers. This. Is. OUR. Moment."

On her campaign website, the representative-elect explained that she will fight for issues that matter to parents, like closing the racial wealth gap by advocating for College for All and working to ensure that low-income women, women of color, and trans people have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare that includes education, prevention, treatment, assistance, and support.

4. New Mexico Elects All Women of Color to Congress

New Mexico made history by electing its first U.S. House delegation made up of all women of color, and two are moms.

Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American women in Congress and a mom of one, was elected to a second term in the 1st Congressional District. On her campaign site, Haaland promises to support working families in a variety of ways, such as fighting for free child care and pre-K.

Upon winning, she spoke about "the most pressing issues of our time ... The fight to protect our earth and climate change, the recognition that every American has a right to health care, the need to confront racial injustice, the call to provide a good education for all of our children, and the duty to help foster an economy that creates opportunity for every single American to achieve success is real, and I am listening."

Teresa Fernandez, a mom of three, will represent the state's third district and become the first woman to ever hold the seat. She's an attorney who ran on key issues to support parents like ensuring access to basic preventive health care and early-childhood education.

In her victory speech, Fernandez said, "I'm running on a campaign of protecting what we love and I want to be able to protect what we love, which includes our health care, our environment, our future and that's what propelled me was this desire to take this experience to be able to go to the national level to be able to protect what we love and help it thrive."

5. Palm Springs Elects a New Mom to Be Their First Female Mayor

The first woman elected to the mayoral office in Palm Springs, California, Christy Holstege, a civil rights attorney, just gave birth to her first baby two weeks ago. She also becomes the first out bisexual mayor in the country.

Holstege ran on issues that affect Palm Springs families like improving parks and community-oriented events and investing in educational opportunities.

6. "The Squad" Claims Re-Election Victories

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has two young sons, and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who has talked about importance of her role as a "Bonus Mom" to her stepdaughter Cora, were both re-elected.

Tlaib notes on her office website that she's fighting for environmental justice for families, pointing out that one of the counties in her district has asthma-related hospitalization rates as well as a higher incidence of asthma in young children than the state average.

Pressley is bringing light to issues like removing barriers and safeguard access to critical reproductive care, addressing the crisis of maternal mortality, and dismantling policies that deny women and girls an equitable opportunity to access education, buy a house, or get a job.

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is a mom of three (including teen climate activist Isra Hirsi) also won her re-election campaign in Minneapolis. She ran on issues affecting American families like raising the minimum wage and pushing for a national paid family leave and sick days policy.

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