HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time, but a woman from a Philadelphia suburb, who happens to be a state senator, is weeks away from making Pennsylvania history.
“I am State Senator Amanda Cappelletti, I represent the 17th district, Delaware and Montgomery Counties,” said Amanda Cappelletti.
Pennsylvania has had state senators since 1791, but there has never been a state senator like this.
Cappelletti, the first pregnant senator in Pennsylvania history, is due to give birth on March 16.
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“I mean this in the best way possible, there’s not a lot of firsts left for people like me, a white, straight, cisgender woman. So that this still exists somehow does feel odd in 2023,” said Cappelletti.
Cappelletti says odd reactions, however, still exist.
“Comments have been made, ‘Are you going to run for re-election again?’ or, ‘How do you run for re-election with a baby?'” Cappelletti said. “It was just quite dumbfounding because the men don’t get asked those questions.”
Cappelletti and her husband are eagerly awaiting parenthood after suffering the sorrow of miscarriage twice.
“I joined a club no one wants to join. It feels lonely and isolating at the beginning,” Cappelletti said. “I want people out there who are struggling with this issue to know that they are not alone. There is someone in the legislature who’s had a similar experience and is thinking about them when writing policies.”
Policies like paid time off for parents to grieve a miscarriage or paid time off for parents to bond with their babies.
State Rep. Jarred Solomon, a new dad, says parent-centered polices are needed for all, not just politicians.
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“How do you strengthen the nuclear family when mom and dad are just worrying about putting the next meal on the table, paying next month’s rent, and the stresses and strains of life? You need that time and we could solve that together,” said Solomon.
Cappelletti also has progressive viewpoints on healthcare in the United States.
“Abortion is healthcare,” said Cappelletti.
Cappelletti is also aware she frequently irritates the conservative Republicans running the chamber.
“Voter ID laws like this are known tactics that suppress votes,” Cappelletti said in a video.
At the same time, Cappelletti is grateful for the kindness shown by her Republican colleagues which included a baby shower and genuine promises to help in any way she needs.
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“We jokingly say this is the bipartisan baby,” said Cappelletti. “It’s nice to find that humanizing aspect where now I feel like we can talk and find compromises where it’s not just the progressive Democrat versus conservative Republican mentality.”
While Cappelletti’s politics aren’t universally embraced in the senate, her daughter will be.
“There will definitely be days where I bring her up to meet everyone. Both sides are excited, I have staff that’s very excited, like I said, everybody loves a baby,” said Cappelletti.