Alma Jones has been serving in the Iowa Statehouse since early February but it’s her mother, Representative Megan Jones , who was sworn in on January 14, 2013 to represent the 2nd District in the Iowa House of Representatives. That’s right, a 3 month old baby is on the floor of the Iowa House and my heart can not handle it.
Representative Jones, a Republican, gave birth to Alma on January 24, 2018 which was just 16 days after the state legislature went into session. By early February, Rep Jones was back but this time, with her daughter. Representative Jones told the Des Moines Register:
“My folks deserve to have a voice here. They elected me to do a job, and I needed to be here. So it was never a thought that I was going to take more time. I was going to take what we needed and that was it.”
Jones told ABC News:
“Being a legislator is kind of a unique position because no one can really fill in for me because no one can vote in my place. And so if I wasn’t here to vote, then my constituents wouldn’t have a voice and so I really wanted to make sure that I missed as few votes as possible. I think we are just doing what a lot of other families are doing and that’s just making the situation work.”
Keep in mind, she has a son, Anchor, who is at back at home with the father so they are juggling two kids and being separated during the week.
With the child too young for vaccinations and childcare, many asked why the father wasn’t watching after Alma. Rep Jones responded in the same Des Moines Register article by saying that her husband is a farmer “so it’s not like he can strap a Babybjorn to his chest and be hopping in and out of payloaders and tractors and chasing after cows.”
Alma has been on the House floor, in committee meetings, and in a bassinet next to her mother who speaks on a bill or votes to send a bill to the Senate. Representative Jones recently led a debate on the floor when Alma began to fuss. Many hands make light work as Rep. Matt Windschitl reached over and rocked the bassinet gently and even pulled a chair closer so he could feed Alma her bottle. When asked about what it was like having Alma around, Rep. Windschitl said “These past few weeks have been very stressful with funnel week and the other decisions we have that are before us. So having baby Alma around, it gives you an opportunity to look back and actually remember that we’re doing what we’re doing down here today to make the world a better place for those future generations.”
What a powerful message to send to her own daughter but also to the many mothers out there. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from the 54th District, spoke to the Des Moines Register and said “Even if you’re a young woman and you’re thinking about starting a family and all those kinds of things, this is still a possibility.” Speaker Upmeyer added “I think it’s a good message to young women that we can find a way to work with their young lives — it shouldn’t be a barrier to being able to serve in the legislature” when she spoke to ABC News.
“While this maybe isn’t the preferred situation, it does work and we can make it work and we can make accommodations. And actually it’s been a very positive experience. I hope that people can look at our situation and think that they can make it work too,” Representative Jones said to ABC News. Many representatives have said they would miss having Alma around for the next session.