Jaime Herrera Beutler, a wife and mother of two, is currently serving her fourth term in Congress as a Republican representing her home state of Washington. She was elected to her first term in 2010 at the young age of 31, and she remains one of the youngest Congresswomen to be serving even now.
Beutler readily admits to the many challenges of having a demanding job while raising a young family, but these challenges have helped bring focus to what she hopes to accomplish through her position as a Congresswoman. Issues from paid leave time for parents, to being able to travel through airports with breast milk, are just a couple of examples of the attention she gives to women’s concerns.
In December, President Obama signed her Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act (BABES Act) into law. This law makes carrying bottled breast milk through airports much less of a hassle when having to deal with TSA regulations, which had become a problem for many traveling mothers and families. She also co-authored the Safe Medications for Moms and Babies Act with Democrat Congresswoman Kathy Castor, also signed by President Obama in December. The bill “…will identify major research gaps involving pregnant and lactating women who take prescription medication, and detail ways to promote safer medications for them to use.”
Beutler has also led in pushing the Food and Drug Administration to add folic acid to flour made out of corn-masa; this is something Hispanic families eat regularly, and the hope is that with this important additive in their diet, women will give birth to more babies without anencephaly.
But perhaps the most convincing evidence of Beutler’s concern for mothers, women’s issues, and children is seen through her own personal story. Beutler’s daughter was diagnosed in utero with a disease affecting lung development, which was considered fatal. Beutler and her husband refused a suggested abortion, and instead, Beutler went through weekly treatments at Johns Hopkins, with no confirmation the treatments would work, in the hope of giving their baby a chance at life. Despite the odds, and with their daughter being born prematurely weighing just under three pounds at birth, she survived. She is now three, and, “[S]he’s amazing, hilarious. She’s intelligent,” says Beutler.
These are just a few examples of how Beutler has used her experience as a woman, wife, and mother to show her concern for women and serve them while she is in Congress.