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Houlahan Announces State of the Union Guest

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) announced Jessica Goldenberg, resident of Wynnewood, PA, as her guest to President Biden’s State of the Union address. Jessica works in clinical research, but struggled to receive proper leave from her employer when her son was born, and eventually had to leave her job.

Her employer told her she would receive a combination of 12 weeks of paid and unpaid leave, but four weeks after she gave birth to her premature son, she was told she had to come back to work and didn’t qualify for more leave. Jessica’s former employer then offered to give her two more weeks of unpaid leave, but as she needed more time to continue caring for her son, she was forced to leave her job. This left Jessica and her husband with half of the income they had planned for with a newborn child.

“It’s a privilege to have Jessica as my guest to the State of the Union,” said Houlahan. “Her story is a reminder of why paid leave is so essential in supporting parents. No family should have to experience what she, and so many others, have endured at such an important moment in their lives.” 

Houlaha has been fighting for more access to paid leave for parents and caregivers across the country. She has started a bipartisan working group on paid family leave that is working toward that goal. Houlahan also secured paid parental leave for federal employees in the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act which provides 12 weeks of paid family medical leave for federal workers.

"It's an honor to be invited as a guest of Representative Chrissy Houlahan who is working to further paid leave for all Americans,” said Goldenberg. “I struggled a lot when my son was born, that I didn't get FMLA, and my husband didn't get paid leave was a major stressor in our lives at a time that was supposed to be joyful. It's stressful enough taking care of a newborn, the rest was added stress that didn't need to happen."

“Moms like Jessica and her family are suffering because of our country’s failure to adopt the kind of family and medical leave policies every working person needs,” said Karen Showalter, Pennsylvania Director at MomsRising. “It is a national disgrace that lawmakers have failed for so long to adopt a comprehensive paid leave policy that allows workers to take paid, job-protected leave when new babies come or they or a family member gets sick. Working families, businesses, our public health and our economy will benefit when they do. We are enormously grateful to Rep. Houlahan for her work to advance paid leave and the other care infrastructure policies we all need.”

Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is the recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award which “recognizes members who demonstrate the bipartisan leadership and constructive governing necessary to move our country forward” and the Congressional Management Foundation’s 2022 Democracy Award for best Constituent Services in Congress.