Texas Democrat takes paternity leave ahead of son’s birth

Rep. Colin Allred said he took the leave to advocate for paid parental leave policies

Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, arrives to participate in the weekly caucus press conference in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Rep. Colin Allred’s son Jordan was born in Dallas Tuesday night, the Texas Democrat had already been home with his wife Alexandra Eber for a week.

“Aly and I welcomed our son, Jordan, to the world last night in Dallas,” Allred said in a tweet. “We are so thankful to have a healthy, beautiful son. Our hearts couldn’t be more full.”

Allred is taking paternity leave from the House, and left Washington Feb. 6 for Dallas to be with Eber ahead of the birth. He is using the birth of his first child to advocate for paid parental leave policies.

“Family is so important and, as a country, we must allow for parents to spend time with their babies because providing parents the ability to stay home during this critical period leads to better outcomes for men, women and families,” Allred said in a statement last week announcing he would be taking leave.

Parental leave policies vary from office to office on Capitol Hill, depending on what the lawmaker running the office determines. But it is unusual for lawmakers themselves to designate time off for parental leave.

“This experience makes it clearer than ever to me that we need to provide basic paid sick leave and paid parental leave so that no matter who you are or where you live,” Allred said in the statement. “Hardworking people can have financial security and peace of mind while spending time with their families.”

Allred plans on returning to Washington the last week of February, but he has not yet set a firm date, an official from his office said Wednesday. 

Sen. Tammy Duckworth made news last year when she was the first Senator to give birth while serving in the chamber.

She chose to give birth in Washington, instead of her home state of Illinois, because she knew that her vote might be needed for close votes. She took some time off, but was on Capitol Hill frequently to vote and have meetings.

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