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Lt. Governor hopes real working mom moment inspires women to pursue public office

Posted at 8:08 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 20:08:33-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — On August 10, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman walked up to the podium on live television with her daughter, Evelynne, sleeping in her arms. Within seconds, the baby squirmed and let out a tiny grunt.

"Oh, she's waking up," said Coleman, as a brief moment of panic crossed her face.

That "oh, no" look is one many moms know all too well. You're trying to get something done, and hoping the baby stays quiet for long enough to get it done. In this situation, Coleman took her daughter to the doctor for immunizations. That same day, the Beshear Administration revealed its recommendation to push back in-person classes for a few weeks. Coleman, who is currently serving as Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, needed to speak.

"I finally got [Evelynne] to calm down and finally got her to sleep, and I had to make a decision in that moment. Do I hand her off to someone else to go to the podium? Or, do I roll the dice on live TV?" said Coleman. "When you roll the dice on live TV, it tells you how big of a decision that was, but I just didn't want her to wake up."

So Coleman continued on with her baby in hand. The moment quickly received a lot of attention online.

"Honestly, I was a little taken aback by the response that I got from moms all over Kentucky who said that they can relate to that moment," said Coleman.

Coleman is Kentucky's first lieutenant governor to give birth while in office. She's happy to see that more women are choosing to both run for office and start their families, but she believes it needs to happen more.

"I think as we continue to move in that direction, it's going to empower more young women with young children to run for office because those are the folks that we need representing us in the legislature, or in the executive branch, or on our school boards across Kentucky," said Coleman. "That is so powerful."

Coleman says it's important to normalize women in power.

"The world that my daughter will be able to grow up in, where women are elected officials, and it's normal, is one where I'm excited to be a part of," said Coleman. "And I want every little girl to look up and see a woman leading, and know that she can do that one day too."