“But,” he asked, “Doesn’t she have children? Is there a husband in the picture? Is he willing to, you know, take care of the children?”
Yes, yes, and yes. My wife is running for State Senate, and I’m proud to support her. I love being her partner on the campaign trail, which often means I watch the kids, do the dishes, fold the laundry, and phone bank alongside her.
Women have been supporting men and their professions for years. It’s time for us to step up.
Yet every day on the campaign trail, Jessica faces endless skepticism and judgement. Questions abound around her identity as mother and wife.
Before anyone asks about her candidacy, she must face inquiries on her approach to motherhood and marriage. I want to scream, “hold on, we’re partners! We share the responsibility of raising our kids. I can take care of them too.”
How many aspiring politicians have we lost because they were questioned about motherhood? How many fully qualified women are discouraged every year by this invisible barrier?
To run, my wife had to do so much more than a man. She had to overcome societal obstacles and skepticism. She had to sign an unwritten pledge to put her motherhood and her womanhood up for debate.
She had to accept that our children will be pitied by judgmental parents.
And yet, she ran. Jessica’s the first Colombian-American to run for State Senate, and the first woman to run in District 13.
She is Superwoman to me and my children, making fundraising calls in the morning, picking the kids up from school in the afternoon, writing speeches about rent reform on the 7 train, attending town halls and debates in the evening.
There is no better model for our two young boys than Jessica.
We support each other’s dreams, goals, and figure out the logistics - together. Jessica doesn’t love me and our children any less, she is doing this for us.
Jackson Heights is our home, and we want to make sure the neighborhood is there for them as they grow. But to keep Jackson Heights affordable, so much needs to change.
So to fix our neighborhood, she didn’t complain or angrily post on Facebook. Jessica grabbed a clipboard and she ran for office. That’s who she is to the core.
And as her partner, I grabbed a clipboard and ran with her.
Brendan Sexton is the husband of Jessica Ramos, a Democratic candidate the 13th State senate District in Queens.