HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Based on recommendations by the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, Governor Lamont has signed into law a bill that promotes greater gender and racial diversity on the state level.
The Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, chaired by Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, presented a legislative proposal that addressed barriers that parents face when running for state elected office, as well as diversity among state boards and commissions. After a large amount of support by both the House and Senate, the bill was sent to the Governor’s desk.
The bill contains two provisions: allowing reasonable childcare costs to be eligible expenses on the Citizen Election program, and the requirement for appointing officials to consider recommended candidates from organizations that represent racial and gender diversity.
“Women must have equal representation in state government, and we need to do everything we can to remove any barriers that create imbalances among those in leadership positions,” Governor Lamont said. “Policies in the past that have prevented campaign funding from being used to cover the costs of childcare while campaigning for state office are a perfect example of the kinds of barriers that need to be removed. I’m glad we are finally able to reverse that uneven policy through this legislation, and I am hopeful that we can continue this work and deliver on our administration’s commitment to gender equality and opportunity.”
State officials report that in 2021, women hold 27.8% of seats in the Connecticut State Senate, 35.1% of seats in the Connecticut State House of Representatives, and 33% of state constitutional offices.
This bill was in part inspired by Caitlin Pereira, a Fairfield mother and former candidate who ran for a seat in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 2018. She was told she could not use campaign funds to help cover childcare costs. After filing a lawsuit, the Connecticut Superior Court ruled in Pereira’s favor.
“This is a historic day for women and families in Connecticut. Government works better when moms have a seat at the table, but for too long, structural barriers have made running for and holding public office as a young parent an impossibility for countless women in our state…” said Lt. Bysiewicz.