Not long ago, I watched our campaign bus driver, Liz, FaceTime with her kids when we stopped for gas. She asked how their days were. She described the scenery in Pennsylvania and Ohio as we drove from stop to stop. She told them how much she loved them. Liz is a working mom from Atlanta who makes a living driving shifts on chartered buses. Overnight trips aren’t her favorite assignment, but sometimes she needs the extra hours. Her husband is a truck driver, so he’s often on the road too. Liz has a son in college. When she and I got to talking, she told me how she’s so worried about being able to afford his tuition. I wanted to tell Liz — and the 20 million working moms in America like her — to let me take some of that worry on for her. She’s got more than enough already.
Over the years, I've had a bit of a reputation for being a policy wonk. It's true! I sweat the small stuff. But I have a really good reason for doing that . . . Liz is my reason. So is every other woman who’s pulling together kids at home, working multiple jobs, getting paid wages that are far too low, and trying to afford skyrocketing child care costs, tuition fees, health care, and so much more.
It’s easy to see how quickly all these challenges can pile up. For too many mothers (and fathers too!), succeeding at work while being there for family now requires nothing less than a heroic balancing act.
Now, no one says it’s supposed to be easy. But surely it doesn’t need to be quite this hard. That’s why it’s so important for our next president to sweat the details — and do everything possible to make life a little easier for working parents. Raising a family shouldn’t prevent anyone from furthering their own education, starting a business, or following their dreams.
Now, I’m under no illusions. It's going to take real work to get this done — detail-oriented, determined work. We need to raise wages and close the pay gap. Raising the minimum wage will be key, because about two-thirds of minimum-wage and tipped workers are women. And we need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to hold companies who don’t pay women fairly accountable for their actions.
We need affordable child care and paid family leave. We need to expand access to health care so that you and your kids will always be covered. And we need to make certain that you will always be able to make your own healthcare decisions. This isn't easy, but it's no harder than what Liz does all the time: getting on the road, driving for hours, and leaving her kids behind.
But if we're going to make it possible for Liz to worry less, we need to make sure Donald Trump never becomes president. A man who says that “putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing” has no business running our country. And a man who characterizes pregnancy as “an inconvenience for a business” has no business running a company. His advice to a woman who asked how she might raise money to start a small business? That she ought to find a rich husband. This isn't a guy who even pays attention to reality, much less the details.
Working moms have had their fill of insults and condescension. You’re out there making sacrifices for your families every day. And they’re paying off: a recent Harvard study found that daughters of working moms make 23 percent higher salaries when they grow up. We need to make it easier to continue that progress.
Working moms are our doctors, our teachers, and the drivers who keep us safe on long road trips through warm Summer nights. And while you’re working hard to fulfill your dreams — and to help your kids achieve theirs — I’ll never stop fighting for you.