Editor's note: Liz Linehan is the Democratic candidate for the 103rd State Representative seat. The district covers portions of Cheshire, Southington, Hamden and Wallingford.
My motto is “More Mom Than Politician.” A catchy ditty that fits me well. I truly believe it. But today, after being up all night, and in between doses of Pedialyte and numerous calls from the pediatrician, I feel it more than ever.
You see, campaigning for office is a full-time job. A few full-time jobs, actually, and ironically, the office I’m seeking is in a part-time legislature. There’s a constant stream of to-dos, mostly reaching out to voters and talking one-on-one with the people I hope to represent in the 103rd District. You know, you’ve probably seen me or someone like me at your door once or twice. I love this part of the job, which is a good thing since it’s the most time consuming. It’s all part of being a politician.
But I’m more mom than politician. I have two children under the age of four, both of whom are home sick with a horrible stomach bug that took me a week to recover from when I had it. Just a few moments ago I held a letter from Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman in my hands, as my son sprayed vomit all over me, the letter and the couch. If that’s not “more mom than politician”, I don’t know what is.
And while my story conjured up a humorous image that all parents can relate to, the truth is that the episode I spoke of was followed by a moment where I questioned if I can do both jobs – mom and politician – and do both well.
It’s 4:30 p.m., a time when I should be out knocking on doors, talking to voters like you, but instead I’m praying for my son to have a wet diaper so we don’t have to make a trip to Yale Children’s Hospital for IV fluids due to dehydration. Something’s got to give.
Then I realized that sitting here with my sick children is exactly the reason I need to continue my fight for office. If it weren’t for people like me, we may not have the Mandatory Sick Time Law, which requires employers of 50 or more workers to give service workers paid sick time.
I could very easily have been one of those parents who couldn’t stay home and care for my infant child who may need to be hospitalized because if I skipped work, I couldn’t put food on the table for my other children.
What if it was more than simply dehydration from a stomach bug that plagued my dear, sweet Connor… what if, God forbid, it was an ailment not covered by insurance? What if we didn’t have insurance? As a matter of fact, we do have insurance and I’m still concerned about how we’ll pay the bill – our second ER visit in a month. As all these thoughts swirl in my head, I’m realizing the reasons I must stay in this race and fight for families.
I may have trouble in the coming weeks making it out to knock on doors nightly, as I’m told I must do to win this race. If you don’t see me, it’s not because I’m not interested in fighting for your family, it’s because I’m fighting for mine.
My army of moms and dads will be out knocking for me, and if you happen to open your door and see one of them on your step, know that they are out fighting for your family as well, because this is something we need to do together. I will get back out there, and I do hope I get to meet each one of you on your doorstep or mine, or out and about around town.
You’ll know me when you see me… I’m the mom wearing my child’s vomit like a coat of armor, ready to fight whatever the naysayers and anti-family, anti-children, out-of-touch one percenters and their cronies have to say.
Bring. It. On.