We love seeing Latinxs in politics, serving important roles and positions in our government and breaking down barriers for the next generation of leaders like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Latino U.S. representative Jimmy Gomez made headlines when he brought his infant son Hodge to the Capitol during a House vote for Speaker. The Mexican American serves California’s 34th congressional district on behalf of L.A. neighborhoods like Eagle Rock and Boyle Heights. During the vote, he fed, changed, and carried him throughout the proceedings to accommodate his needs at specific times throughout the day. While it’s not the first time babies have been brought to the chamber, it was still noteworthy to see a dad—a Latino dad—representing a new side of fatherhood as a high-ranking politician.
“We have to normalize dads taking their kids with them, be it stay-at-home dads or working dads,” Gomez told TODAY. “When I took him to the floor, I think people were surprised — but it wasn’t a big deal. I think it does send a powerful message that us guys need to do our part. We don’t risk our lives bringing children into the world — women do.”
— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) January 3, 2023
Since the first-ever session of the House of Representatives, family members and children have been allowed to attend the Speaker vote but it wasn’t until 2018 that infants were specifically allowed in Senate. Given this long history, Gomez may not have been the first to babywear an infant in a government building like the House but he certainly delivered a message. It also seems like Congress itself is slowly making progress with baby changing stations in ALL bathrooms in the Cannon House Office building where his office is located, according to Today.
Baby Hodge got to be a part of a major moment in political history with this vote. “On behalf of my son, Hodge, and all the working families who need an expanded Child Tax Credit, I cast my vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” he said during the voting session for House minority leader for Representative Hakeem Jeffries, notably the first Black man to serve in that role.
— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) January 6, 2023
“I was doing it because I wanted to have Hodge there and I wanted to show him off,” he told Today. “He’s my son and I’m proud of him. Hopefully, I won’t be the last member to babywear on the floor or to babywear and vote.”
It’s remarkable to see Gomez in the chamber as the son of Mexican immigrants and a working-class family, working to better the lives of those in his community and throughout the country. But the choice to bring his son to work in such a groundbreaking way resists and rejects age-old concepts of patriarchy, machismo, and the traditional role Latino fathers often play in their children’s lives and will hopefully inspire others to do the same or at least think differently.