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This year we had the pleasure of working with MomsRising members to elevate key family issues for candidates through personal communications to candidates and media displays at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Our members also worked hard to get other moms both registered and voting with mother and family issues in mind. To read more about our MomsVote program go to:

Moms in our nation packed a powerful political punch this election: Exit polls found that moms listened, voted, and The New York Times, in its post-election analysis of exit polls, found that moms played a major role in determining the outcome of this election.

And, not only did moms vote, they are also paying attention to where candidates stand on these issues: One such poll conducted by Lake Research Partners found a wide margin (63%) of voters said their candidate's position on issues that help American parents balance work and family (like fair pay, health care and paid sick time) made them more supportive of that candidate.

"Voters, especially women, were looking for a leader who cared about the issues that affect families, including balancing work and family," said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. Her firm reached 1,200 likely voters from November 2-4 on both land lines and cell phones on behalf of Rockefeller Family Fund, which commissioned the poll.

This poll also found that daily worries about work and family responsibilities proved to be frequent for 72 percent of working fathers and 67 percent of working mothers with children under 18. In comparison, 73 percent of working fathers and 74 percent of working mothers worried on a daily basis about the economy. This is only a 1% difference in concern levels, and indicates major work family issues, shared by the majority of people, which must be addressed.

We are now gratified to have a president-elect who has spoken strongly about the need ensure the economic security of families. Recognizing that in a time of economic down-turn families are going to be even more pressed, we are doing our best to communicate with the new administration as well as mobilize our members to provide the grassroots support to move the policies we need. To read our "Top Priorities for a New Administration" document solicited by the transition team go here:

We are always interested in learning about your long-term campaigns and ways we might engage with you as you plan them! So when the time comes, give us a call or email so we are able to see if we can work with you. Contact And if you have news, announcements or success stories to report for our next e-Exchange, please email me at Thanks!

Here's wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and holidays, from the whole MomsRising team!



A - Highlights of's Work With Partner Organizations Around the Country

1. California Healthcare Project

2. Paid Sick Days -- Looking Forward to 2009

B - Momentum From Around the Country -- Updates from Aligned Organizations

1. Maine Women's Lobby Helps Pass Expansion of Maine Family and Medical Leave Law

2. National Women's Law Center: What's Next for Child Care & Head Start?

C - News You Can Use: New Opportunities, Organizations, and Resources

1. New International Mothers Network Forming

2. Feminism2.0 Conference, February 2, 2009

D - Good Reading: Let's Value and Recognize the Work of Parenting and Families


A - Highlights of's Work With Partner Organizations Around the Country

1. California Healthcare Project members continue to work with our partners at the 100 Percent Campaign -- Children's Defense Fund, Children Now, and The Children's Partnership -- to fight cuts to children's healthcare in California. We've been urging legislators and the Governor to do what moms and dads are already doing around their kitchen tables - thinking about how to use our money wisely. We are calling on our legislators to spend wisely to ensure that all children have healthcare coverage, particularly during this economic downturn. Research data and personal experience clearly demonstrate that coverage can prevent more costly coverage later. To support this effort, our members have sent more than 4,000 letters to California legislators, submitted letters to the editor, and drafted blogs illustrating their first-hand experiences with healthcare coverage for their kids. For a more information, see our recent "Peaceful Revolution" post at the Huffington Post at:

In partnership with our California and national colleagues, we are gearing up to launch a push to support the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to be timed with inauguration and the new Congress. As part of this effort, we've been helping to get the word out about NAKESEC's (National Korean American Service & Education Consortium) fabulous plans to display children's art about healthcare coverage in Union Station in Washington D.C. during the inauguration. For more information about this effort see If you have ideas about how MomsRising can help with your efforts on children's health coverage, please contact or


2. Paid Sick Days -- Looking forward to 2009

MomsRising has big plans for 2009, when we'll be engaging in local, state, and national campaigns to pass Paid Sick Days policies. In each campaign, we send combined online and on-the-ground grassroots engagement efforts to activate our members to contact legislators, share their stories, and participate in on the ground, media earning events.

In our recent letter to the Transition Team for the new administration, MomsRising included passage of the Healthy Families Act as a top priority for the first 100 days of the new presidency.

For 2009, we're excited to report a new partnership with CLASP to find and activate supportive business owners in selected campaigns. In this time of economic uncertainty, paid sick days laws are important to ensuring families' economic security, and legislators and the public will need to hear from business owners that this policy is important to them.

Our strategies are making an impact. In 2008, we contributed to the winning campaigns in Washington, DC and Milwaukee, and pushed for historic legislative progress in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and Ohio. All told, MomsRising members sent in over 90,000 letters to their legislative leaders in support of Paid Sick Days as well as took action on-the-ground. We currently have active campaigns in Vermont, North Carolina, and Philadelphia; and are looking forward to adding more states in the next month.

A great example of our work is our "sick or treat" campaign in Milwaukee, WI. There, we created 15,000 pieces of "sick or treat" candy with "Vote YES on paid sick days" on the wrapper to families to hand out on Halloween. The candy and materials served as a fun, timely way to engage the issues of paid sick days. This effort engaged a new constituency of moms and along with the superb organization of the Paid Sick Days coalition (lead by Milwaukee 9 to 5), contributed to the ballot initiative winning with 69% of the vote.

If you have any questions about our work or strategies on Paid Sick Days, email


B - Momentum From Around the Country -- Updates from Aligned Organizations

1. Maine Women's Lobby Helps Pass Expansion of Maine Family and Medical Leave Law


In 2008 the Maine Women's Lobby helped pass a further expansion of Maine's Family and Medical Leave law, this time to include siblings who share living arrangements. This came after a 2007 expansion to include coverage for domestic partners, and clarifying use of FMLA for intermittent leave.

After our efforts to pass paid sick day legislation fell short in late spring of 2008, the Maine Women's Lobby recommitted to educating candidates for statewide office- and women voters- about the importance of new standards to make sure no one has to choose between their job and their health or the well being of their family. We developed and disseminated a work and family policy guide (available at to every candidate and urged them to pledge their support.

We reached out to our own members and to a key demographic - single women - to build support for the agenda. Meeting with candidates in-district, sending postcards, and calling candidates were some of the actions our activists took to put paid sick day, paid family and medical leave insurance, prevention from caregiver discrimination, and flexibility work first on legislators' agenda in the new year. In total, we communicated with over 20,000 women by mail and phone, and called hundreds to turn them out on Election Day. Working with coalition partners, we now have access to over 6,000 paid sick day supporters to mobilize next year.

In January 2009, the 124th Maine Legislature will convene for a two-year session. Banning discrimination based on family care giving, enacting paid sick day/paid safe day legislation, and promoting flexibility at work will be on the agenda this session. We'll be working with coalition partners and prospective legislative leaders in the weeks ahead to assess the legislative outlook and determine which policies will move forward immediately. Contact Sarah Standiford 207-622-0851 or


2. National Women's Law Center: What's Next for Child Care & Head Start?

The National Women's Law Center welcomes President Elect Obama's strong commitment to significant new investments in early childhood that involve strengthening and expanding existing programs that support children and families as well as helping states to fund initiatives for children from birth to age five through a new program -- Early Learning Challenge Grants.

In order to make significant strides on a strong early childhood agenda, President Obama and Congress can take a number of steps"in the near term, in the next 100 days, and in the first year of a new administration:

  • Establish an Office of Early Care and Learning in the Department of Health and Human Services -- President Obama should take immediate steps to establish an Office of Early Care and Learning in the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to house the Child Care Bureau and the Office of Head Start.
  • Include Funding for Child Care and Head Start in the Economic Recovery Package -- The economic recovery package should include new funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start, as the current economic crisis has created tremendous strains for families as well as for child care and Head Start providers who were already vulnerable after years of neglect of these critical programs. For more information about why we believe child care is an economic stimulus, check out our fact sheet.
  • Provide a New Investment of $10 Billion for Early Childhood in the FY 2010 Budget -- This new investment should be divided between the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Early Learning Challenge Grants.
  • Expand and Improve the Dependent Care Tax Credit -- We urge President Obama to work with Congress to enact permanent improvements to the CDCTC, including making the credit refundable and allowing low- to moderate-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for child care expenses, as proposed by candidate Obama, along with other improvements, including an adjustment in expense limits and indexing the expense limits and sliding scale for inflation.
  • Begin a Dialogue on the Reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant -- Recognizing that the Child Care and Development Block Grant has not been reauthorized in over a decade, a group of national and state children's advocates have worked to develop an Agenda for High-Quality, Affordable Care to guide the next reauthorization of CCDBG. It is essential to begin the discussions about strategies to strengthen and expand CCDBG so that policymakers can create an environment where children in child care settings can thrive and parents can be productive at work.
  • Provide Greater Access to Nutritious Meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program -- The reauthorization of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) should include provisions to expand access for children enrolled in family child care homes and child care centers so more children can take advantage of the meals and snacks offered by CACFP.

For more information about these and other proposals to improve the future of child care, download Developing America's Potential: An Agenda for Affordable, High-Quality Child Care.


C - News You Can Use: New Opportunities, Organizations, and Resources

1. New International Mothers Network Forming

The Association for Research on Mothering, based at York University in Toronto, convened the International Motherhood Movement Summit on October 24-26, 2008. Participation included 28 international mother organizations and as well as 200 academics and activists from more than twenty countries. Summit participants discussed creating an international mothers network and website that would feature information on worldwide mothers organizations and their calendar of events. An open invitation is being distributed to invite organizations around the globe to join in founding such a network. For more information, contact Andrea O'Reilly at or go to:


2. Feminism2.0 Conference, February 2, 2009

Feminism2.0 will convene at George Washington University, Washington D.C. on February 2, 2008. The conference will bring together the leadership of major women's advocacy organizations and online women's communities, to further the connection between the experience, knowledge, formidable real-world grassroots networks and online advocacy tools of women's advocacy organizations and the powerful and growing communities of women online.

Convening organizations include the American Association of University Women (AAUW), BlogHer, Care2, culturekitchen, Feminist Majority,, Feministe, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), National Organization for Women (NOW), Momsrising, Vivir Latino, Women in Media and News, and Women's Media Center.

This one-day event will be attended by 30 to 50 key leaders in women's advocacy and women's online media, as well as by 250 members of the general public. Feminism2.0 is intended for all women interested in better policy for women, families, and society. For more information, go to and see: What Does Feminism Look Like on the Web? And The Internet and Women: Shaping a New Society.


D - Good Reading: Let's Value and Recognize the Work of Parenting and Families

Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family, by Nancy Folbre (Harvard University Press, 2008). Folbre argues that the time spent caring for children represents a valuable investment for societies, that parents (especially mothers) make most of the investment and pay the costs of childrearing, and that better accounting methods and institutional structures are needed to bring this reality into economic theory and public policy.

High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families, by Peter Gosselin (Basic Books, 2008). Gosselin documents the shift of economic risk away from the public and (especially) private sectors and toward individual Americans and their families.

The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in America, by Felicity Kornbluh (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007) and Life after Welfare: Reform and the Persistence of Poverty, by Laura Lein and Deanna T. Schexnayder (University of Texas Press, 2007). Both authors place the experiences of poor women and mothers center stage in their analyses of the complex politics of poverty. The authors envision a country in which political leaders value the work of parenting.

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