O'Malley On Board with Paid Leave and Universal Pre-K

Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley joined the list of politicians participating in New Hampshire WMUR TV’s Conversation with the Candidate recently, and Every Child Matters-New Hampshire once again was in-studio, ready to ask questions about issues facing kids and working families.

Hali Normandeaux (7:50) asked O’Malley if he would support paid sick and family medical leave so sick children can stay home and working parents, especially women, can care for them without undue financial hardship. “I sure would,” the former Maryland Governor promptly replied. O’Malley attributed America’s national success to the ability of each generation to include more people more fully in economic and political life. He reflected on his own accomplishments in state office, including marriage equality and the Dream Act, as well as raising goals for minority and women’s business participation.  “Policies that are good for women and families are also good for economic growth,” he said.

ECM-NH’s MacKenzie Flessas (17:45) asked about barriers that keep underemployed and low-wage workers from getting more satisfying jobs that require advanced skills. O’Malley again pointed to a Maryland model – the Workforce Exchange, which pairs employers looking for skills with workers who have them, or pairs workers without needed skills with programs to provide them. The exchange also publicizes regional opportunities so individuals can learn in advance which skills are in demand, allowing them to get appropriate training to be viable candidates for such positions.

O’Malley also was asked whether publicly funded preschool should be made universally available, and how he would work with Congress to make that happen. “Yes, and I’m not sure yet,” O’Malley replied. “I believe universal pre-k would pay huge dividends, helping us to greatly narrow the achievement gap between kids of higher income and lower income. It would provide a real return on investment.”

We’ll fill you in next week on Scott Walker’s performance in the “Conversation with the Candidate” series – sponsored by Save the Children Action Network, a key partner in ECM’s effort to highlight early childhood issues in New Hampshire.