Bay Area Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks goes viral after bringing newborn to vote on housing bill

The video shows Buffy Wicks arguing for SB 1120 with her 1-month-old on the State Assembly floor

Alix Martichoux Image
ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Bay Area Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks goes viral after bringing newborn to vote on housing bill
"I will always show up for housing - no matter what." When Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks' request to vote by proxy was denied, she drove from Oakland to Sacramento with 1-month-old Elly in tow.

SAN FRANCISCO -- When California Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks rushed to the floor to vote on State Bill 1120, she intended to make a point about the state's housing crisis. But a video of that moment has gone viral for making an entirely separate point about the struggle of working mothers.

Wicks, who represents Berkeley and Oakland in the state assembly, says she requested to cast her vote on the bill by proxy amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but her request was denied.

So she drove to Sacramento Monday with her 1-month-old, Elly, and made it in time to speak on the assembly floor, Elly swaddled over her shoulder.

"I was actually in the middle of feeding my daughter when this bill came up, and I ran down on the floor today because I strongly need to pass this bill," Wicks said.

State Bill 1120, which aimed to make it easier to build duplexes in areas zoned for single-family homes, failed to pass the State Assembly Monday.

Wicks tweeted she was "absolutely devastated" by the bill's failure.

"Our housing crisis requires us to act, and tonight we failed to do that," she said. "But I promise you this: I will *always* show up for housing - no matter what."

On Tuesday evening, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat who represents part of Los Angeles County, issued an apology.

"I want to make a full apology to Assemblymember Wicks. My intention was never to be inconsiderate toward her, her role as a legislator, or her role as a mother," Rendon said in a statement. "Inclusivity and electing more women into politics are core elements of our Democratic values. Nevertheless, I failed to make sure our process took into account the unique needs of our members. The Assembly needs to do better. I commit to doing better."

Editor's note: This story was updated to include the speaker's apology.