U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan Press to Expand Investment in Childcare, the Basic Infrastructure for Families, Economy

MINNESOTA [08/31/2020]— Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) was joined by Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan at a Minneapolis in-home childcare provider to discuss the growing importance of addressing the state’s critical childcare shortage that has worsened during the current coronavirus pandemic. 

The three were at the Minneapolis home of Luciana Carballo, an in-home childcare provider who has been forced by the pandemic to accept fewer children and make other changes to keep the children she cares for safe.  The virus has put similar pressure on providers all across the state and it has hamstrung parents who are left with fewer childcare choices.

“Childcare is basic infrastructure for families and our economy.  That’s why it’s such a high priority for me in the next covid package,” said Sen. Smith during the visit.  “Before the pandemic, we already had a childcare crisis in Minnesota with costs for a family running as high as the cost of a year’s tuition at the University of Minnesota. It’s important that we address this crisis because if a family doesn’t have a safe affordable place for their kids to be while parents work or go to school, nothing else in their lives work.” 

Smith said that in many communities across the state, there are “childcare deserts,” where a shortage of child care stresses families. 

“We need to invest in building Minnesota’s child care system just like we invest in any other type of infrastructure, so that families – like the ones Luciana serves here – have a safe affordable place for their kids to be while they work,” she said.

Earlier this year, Sen. Smith joined forces with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to push for $50 billion to help shore up the nation’s childcare system during the pandemic and help providers and families deal with childcare needs.  In late July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, the “Child Care is Essential Act,” with bipartisan support.

You can access a photo from today here and watch a video of Sen. Smith’s remarks here