I stand before you today to announce that I have officially decided to run for Congress. As with most of our current elected officials, I do not care about the many issues affecting my district and plaguing my constituents. There is one reason and one reason only behind this campaign—it is the only way I will be eligible to receive paid family leave.
Sounds simple? It is. I want to have a baby at some point, and I want to make sure I have paid parental leave. But based on our current set of laws, the only way to ensure that is to get a job in Congress.
I didn’t know until yesterday that federal employees have paid family leave—which is surprising considering they’re consistently voting against it—and I have to say, it is as good a reason to get into government as any. Do I want to make a splash in the press and put myself in the spotlight with this campaign? Yes. Do I also want twelve paid weeks off to recover from giving birth to or being handed a newborn baby? That’s my only reason for doing all of this, so, yes, very much so! It’s still a more wholesome reason to run for office than that of some other politicians, who use their seats to prevent the passing of climate legislation, stop the teaching of American history, or sell wigs.
And speaking of crying babies, Congress won’t mandate federal parental leave—but they still make sure they get it. Federal employees actually receive a whopping twelve paid weeks of family leave. Twelve! Ten plus two. That’s in addition to having summers off—you know, so they can see their children once in a while. I wish I could get away with that level of hypocrisy at my job—that’s like having the tasting menu at Nobu for lunch while telling an assistant the fifteen-dollar salad they ate at their desk won’t be covered.
Now, I’m really a one-issue candidate, or rather a for-one-person candidate, so I’m first and foremost concerned with obtaining family leave for myself. But at long last, Democrats in Congress proposed that the same twelve weeks of paid family leave afforded to them be available to the other 99 percent of Americans as well. Imagine! A country where anyone who has a child could receive paid leave from their government. Sure, every other developed country offers it to its citizens, but here in America? I literally can’t fathom it.
I also can’t fathom Democrats in Congress getting anything done, which is why for everyone else, paid family leave has gone from twelve weeks to four weeks to zero weeks and now back to four weeks. I don’t want to risk it going to a vote and ending up with nothing, so I’m running for Congress to ensure I personally get the full twelve weeks. It’s also why I’ll be running as an Independent—my boy Bernie Sanders is an Independent, and he gets the most stuff done out of anyone I know. And by “know,” I mean who I follow on Instagram.
Ultimately, I’m running for Congress because I will not be able to afford having a baby in my lifetime. I don’t currently have a baby, but I would like to have one eventually, and just like the vast majority of private-sector American workers, I will not be eligible for paid family leave through my job. My spouse is, but his plan only covers himself, obviously—a family-leave plan that covers BOTH parents? In your dreams.
So, if the government doesn’t want to do its job and give me paid family leave as a private citizen, then I guess I’ll have to obtain it as a federal employee—in Congress.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all on the campaign trail and hopefully receiving your votes. And, of course, as soon as I take office, I will advocate for and champion legislation for paid family leave for all. It’s just that first, I have to wait my requisite year of working there to be eligible for paid leave, and then wait however long it takes to have or get a baby, and then take the leave itself. We’re never able to get anything done during summer break, and then the fall/winter session is always a wash because of the holidays, but after that, I swear I’ll get to it!