As the Virginia gubernatorial race kicks into high gear, voters have their eye out for updates from the candidates on campaign events and what their platforms will look like for the coming year. As the mother of two young children, I’m looking for candidates who prioritize children. So, that’s why I was excited when gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, released her plan for early childhood education and care in Virginia, aiming to achieve universal child care by 2025.
Before the onset of COVID-19, Virginia was ranked No. 40 in the country for affordable, accessible child care. Now, in 2021, the situation is even worse. During the pandemic, 40% of commonwealth child care providers closed their doors at least temporarily. Many never will reopen. This is devastating not only for the parents forced out of their jobs because they cannot find adequate child care, but also for the economy as it loses so many of its valuable workers.