By: Becca Thomas, Managing Director, Communications, Groundwork Ohio
The work to improve early childhood supports and access can be long and arduous, but it’s continually inspiring to be doing it alongside so many passionate and hardworking statewide organizations, along with so many national partners. Recently, Lynanne Gutierrez and I traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of a group organized by the Alliance for Early Success, a national organization that supports early childhood advocates and allies in their policy outreach efforts.
It was exciting to spend time hearing from other early childhood and maternal health advocates throughout the country on their state’s specific work and challenges in this field, along with hearing from education experts within the Biden-Harris Administration on the work they’re doing to ensure our nation’s children and the families that care for them have access to quality and affordable child care.
Our time together included a conversation with Katie Hamm, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Early Childhood Development, where we were able to hear about recent initiatives they were working on to help kids across the country.
We also spent some time with Mario Cardona, Senior Policy Advisor for Education, Domestic Policy Council, during a visit to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at The White House, a particular thrill for me and I’m sure many others.
Through these conversations, we learned more about President Biden’s Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers, the bipartisan, bicameral Expanding Childcare in Rural America (ERA) Act of 2023, and the White House States Convening on Child Care with nearly 100 state legislators that had also taken place this week.
Lynanne and I also spent some time meeting with members of the Ohio Legislative Delegation and had productive conversations with staffers from Senators Brown (D-Ohio) and Vance’s (R-Ohio) offices, along with teams from Representatives Dave Joyce (OH-14), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), and Bill Johnson (OH-6).
After a few days packed full of meetings, it was great to return to Columbus feeling empowered by the legislation working its way through Congress that could have tangible benefits for Ohioans throughout our state.