Buffy Wicks Was Denied a Proxy Vote While on Maternity Leave—So She Brought Her Newborn to the Assembly

Nina Bahadur
·2 mins read

California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, who represents Berkeley and Oakland, had an important vote to cast on on August 31—supporting SB 1120, a bill that would permit duplexes to be built in areas zoned for single-family homes and increase housing access for people across the state. 

Because Wicks was on maternity leave after welcoming her second daughter, she requested to vote by proxy. But Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who can grant proxy votes to people “at a higher risk from the COVID-19 virus,” denied Wicks’s request. So Wicks brought her one-month-old daughter to the senate floor. 

The housing bill did not pass, but Wicks’s story went viral. It sparked a wider conversation about the lack of paid parental leave in the U.S., how unaffordable childcare can be, and the extremely difficult decisions working parents across the country have to make on a regular basis. 

In an interview with CBS Los Angeles, Wicks said that “we’re all dealing with how we manage this new world” and categorized her experience as a “teachable moment.” She also addressed her story going viral.

“I think it touches a chord of what a lot of women are feeling around the country right now, especially with COVID,” she said. “It’s not really about me, it’s about the constraints I think families are feeling across the board.”

Rendon issued a public apology to Buffy Wicks, saying his intention “was never to be inconsiderate toward her, her role as a legislator, or her role as a mother,” and reaffirmed his commitment to inclusivity. “I commit to doing better,” he said. 

Originally Appeared on Glamour