Bonamici Invites Oregon Child Care Advocate to Biden’s Congressional Address
WASHINGTON, DC [04/27/21] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) announced that Andrea Paluso, a leading advocate for child care, will be her virtual guest for President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress.
Paluso is a member of Bonamici’s Oregon Child Care Advisory Board and the Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon, an organization dedicated to helping mothers and caregivers. Addressing the child care crisis is a top priority for Bonamici, who helped secure $39 billion of child care support in the American Rescue Plan, including $404 million for Oregon.
“Mothers and caregivers have been stretched and stressed for too long and need our help as the pandemic pushes our child care crisis to the brink,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “The $39 billion of support I helped secure in the American Rescue Plan is already making a difference for families and child care providers, but we won’t have a robust economic recovery without lasting support. Andrea Paluso has been a tireless advocate for families and caregivers, advancing legislative solutions and making a difference in the lives of women and families. I am grateful for Andrea’s dedication, and am honored to have her as my virtual guest for this presidential address as we continue working together.”
All 36 counties in Oregon were considered to be child care deserts for infants and toddlers before the pandemic, with only one child care slot for every three children who need care. The pandemic has pushed many child care providers to the brink of permanent closure.
“I’m thrilled to be Congresswoman Bonamici’s guest,” said Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon. “The Congresswoman’s advocacy has helped Oregon secure critical investments in our child care sector that are desperately needed to recuperate from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. And we know that she will continue fighting for us and the investments we need.”
“We can’t have an equitable economic recovery in Oregon or America without game-changing investments in child care,” Paluso continued. “A history of racist and sexist policies in this country positioned women, especially those who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islanders, and/or immigrants, to be hit hardest by the pandemic. Child care providers are disproportionately women of color, and they have been most devastated by our broken systems. I’m so proud and glad to have a Congresswoman who understands that child care is essential work, work that makes all other work possible.”
“We can recover from this crisis in a way that helps those most impacted and sets us up to have a stronger, better child care system than before,” Paluso said. “One that is accessible and affordable for every family, and that ensures providers are able to earn the living wages and good benefits they deserve.”
After securing funding for child care in the American Rescue Plan, Bonamici has continued advocating for increased investments as part of the upcoming infrastructure package. She is leading the Child Care is Infrastructure Act, and is a co-sponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act. The Congresswoman recently hosted a conversation with national expert Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor of ZERO TO THREE about the challenges facing parents and caregivers of young children during the pandemic and how federal policy can make a difference.
Bonamici also released an in-depth report on the state of child care in Oregon last year based on conversations with Oregon child care providers, early childhood educators, parents, and other advocates. It contains many of their stories and outlines a legislative path forward.