Michigan State Rep. Stephanie Chang was recently criticized by men in her community after she brought her 2-year-old daughter to a public meeting discussing the future of Belle Isle Grand Prix.
The online bashing happened in a private Facebook group called “Belle Isle: Park or Racetrack?” where a lot of men expressed their negative thoughts about Chang not finding a babysitter for her daughter.
Most of the comments in the private group have since been deleted, but Metro Times managed to salvage one post from a man named Chris Martin.
“If you can’t find someone to watch you kid among all your friends, relatives and hundreds of community contacts, stay home and don’t disrupt a meeting for adults. If you take your kid with you when the legislature is in session, then there is something very wrong with state government,” the man wrote.
Instead of letting this pass, Chang decided to release a full statement explaining why she decided to bring her daughter to the meeting — and briefly educated people on why this could be a good thing.
“As a working mom-legislator, I truly appreciate the many community meetings I attend that are accessible and friendly to all, including working parents and children, seniors, and students. I also appreciate the many individuals who welcome my daughter’s presence at discussions about issues that will affect the lives of District 6 residents — including her own. It is literally her future that I am fighting for in the legislature,” Chang said when asked by Metro Times for comments on the situation.
She pointed out that having children tag along to a public meeting and teaching them “the importance of civic engagement” can help the local community think about issues making an impact on families.
“I gave birth during my first year as a State Representative, so almost my entire tenure in public office has been a simultaneous journey of motherhood and public service,” Chang added.
She went on to thank her husband Sean, parents, and in-laws for their support in taking care of their daughter while she does her job as a “public servant” at the Capitol.
Chang continued: “There is no way I could do this job without their support and the support of many District 6 residents. … as my daughter has gotten older and more independent, I began taking her to more community meetings. The vast majority of residents have enjoyed her presence and some have gotten to know my daughter fairly well.”
The representative said that bringing her child to one or two meetings a week enables her to spend more time with her.
“Many weeks I have evening functions every day that involve listening to resident concerns and giving updates — these are important for me to attend,” Chang explained. “I continue to try to find ways to be both the best mother possible and the best state representative my residents deserve.”
Many citizens in the area are now debating whether politicians should remove the Detroit Grand Prix from Belle Isle or not. The community meeting, according to Detroit Free Press, was organized by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Chang was first elected for the position in November 2016. She assumed office on Jan. 1, 2015, and became the first Asian American woman to ever serve in the Michigan Legislature, NBC News reported.