Kids Advocates Get VP Biden’s Ear at IA Coffee Shop

Vice President Joe Biden said he came to listen when he stopped in this week at an informal roundtable at Smokey Row Coffee in Des Moines, Iowa. He did so attentively for more than an hour, as Iowa children’s policy leaders, advocates and front-line parents told their stories and explained why the health, education and safety of children is key to our country’s success and well-being.

Every Child Matters joined the Vice President’s Office to organize the event, which highlighted important, positive new initiatives for America’s kids contained in the President’s State of the Union address last month and in the Obama Administration’s proposed budget announced last week. Strengthening ECM’s presence in Iowa is critical to our mission of highlighting kids’ needs nationally and calling for the investments necessary to meet them.

Participants included Brian Ahlberg, President, Every Child Matters; Rob Barron, Des Moines School Board Member; Charlie Bruner, Iowa Child and Family Policy Center;  Teree Caldwell-Johnson, Des Moines School Board Member; Gabriella Galentine, Director, Hispanic Educational Resources and Conmigo Early Education Center; Jos Linn, Grassroots Manager, US Poverty Campaigns; Arlene McAtee, Director, Mid-Iowa Community Action Agency; Tom Rendon, Head Start State Collaboration Office Coordinator, Iowa Department of Education and Board Chair, Iowa AEYC; and Lana Ross, Executive Director, Iowa Community Action Association.

Also there to share were parents Ann Rutledge and Stephanie Dawn Peters. They relayed how programs like Head Start and the Community Services Block Grant were helping them as parents.

As we begin the long effort of spotlighting children’s issues ahead of the 2016 presidential election, we hope all of you in every state will promote a Children’s Agenda that makes its way into the platforms of the candidates.

Just three days ago, in The New York Times, author Nate Cohn wrote about an emerging Parent Agenda. With its focus on family economics, affordable child care and pre-school, free community college, and more reflected in the President’s budget, the Parent Agenda is much the same as the Children’s Agenda ECM has been espousing since 2001. We embrace the possibility of children’s issues becoming mainstream politics in America.