Candidates address kids issues in South Carolina

Over the past several weeks, Every Child Matters SC has traveled through the state attending candidate appearances and events. In Florence, Donald Trump nearly filled the Civic Center, Senator Cruz had a full house at the camp meeting grounds in Dorchester, Senator Rubio hosted an audience of several hundred and several hundred supporters of all of the Republican candidates again turned out to cheer on their pick for the primary to be held Saturday, February 20.

Each event was unique, but a common thread ran through them. Voters are concerned about the future for themselves, but especially for their children. I had the privilege of speaking to dozens of voters, each thanked Every Child Matters for the work we are doing and happily sported a “Step Up for Kids” sticker. During my conversations, access to quality education topped the list of concerns, followed closely by the mountain of debt many faced due to student loans. A number of the folks I spoke with were grandparents who couldn’t understand why child care has become so expensive and didn’t know how their sons and daughters would afford to find trusted caregivers for their children.

When given the opportunity to pose questions to the candidates, I chose to ask about the cost of child care, which rivals the cost of college. Senator Rubio includes an increased in the Child Tax Credit in his tax plan; unfortunately, the other candidates have not given serious consideration to this issue, nor has it, or other issues critical to the success of American families and their children, been raised in the debates.

 

The turnout of voters at these events makes it clear that they are looking for answers to the questions that keep them up nights. It is also clear that there is a disconnect between the voters and those seeking their votes; and this disconnect is not confined to either party. Voters want to know that their children have a bright future, not what failings exist in each candidate’s opponents. They want to know how they will put food on the table without having to work multiple jobs and thus sacrifice mealtimes with their children. They want to know that when they drop their child off in the morning, her caregivers are well trained and sufficiently paid. And they want to have access to tools that will help them cope in the new economy.

On behalf of American families, Every Child Matters asks the candidates to address these issues going forward; if we don’t, we risk losing what each candidate promises to deliver, a better and brighter American future.