Steve Larrick for U.S. Senate

Voices of Children Questionnaire
August 27, 2008, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

1.    8.6 million children have no health insurance in the U.S.  How do you propose to ensure that children have access to comprehensive health care?

To provide health insurance for children and families in America, I propose to redirect our massive and growing buildup of war spending in recent years.  Our combined U.S. military budget is now over a trillion dollars a year if you include regular Pentagon programs, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, more than 600 military bases and detention centers around the world, the costs of a growing disabled veteran population, Homeland Security, the surveillance of Americans and people around the world, and other military-related expenditures.  It is time to redirect our nation’s resources toward peace and the health of people and the environment.  I support universal health care in America like the rest of the industrialized world has had for years.  We can have universal health care if we make it a priority and vote accordingly.

2.    More than 3 million children nationwide were reported abused and neglected in 2006. What are your plans to keep all children safe from violence in their homes, schools, and communities?

Our society needs to redirect its energies away from violent interventions all around the world and focus on the health and welfare of people and the environment.  This will go a long way toward reducing the violence in our homes, schools and communities.  We need to strengthen the popular Community Development Block Grant program to empower local citizens to build healthier, more peaceful and caring communities.  With more healthy and caring communities, we will see a decline in violence, substance abuse, and despair that give rise to child abuse and neglect.  In this context, we can develop Green Jobs programs that educate and employ people of all ages in conserving energy with insulating homes to reduce high energy costs, growing fruits and vegetables locally to improve nutrition, and bringing people of all ages together to solve local challenges.

3.    Millions of children are left alone every day after school.  What is your position on how to keep children safe and supervised in the late afternoon and early evening hours?

Community Learning Centers (CLCs) in schools and local recreation centers can provide great after-school and early evening enrichment programs.  These CLCs engage local artists, musicians, writers, chess masters, and others in the community to provide educational and mentoring activities and opportunities.  Children can pick the kind of activities that they enjoy the most and things that they most want to learn about. Engagement of parents in the CLCs contributes to the health of families as well as the communities.  In recent years, CLCs and many other beneficial programs have been cut to pay for more war spending.  We need to reverse this trend.

4.    Millions of children lack access to early learning opportunities.  What is your position on early learning and care, including preparing children for kindergarten?

Head Start programs have proven to be successful in providing pre-school learning and care opportunities. Current funding for Head Start programs is woefully inadequate and needs to be increased.  We need to redirect public resources from the bloated and growing military budget in order to afford the kind of pre-school programs our children need.

5.    13.6 million of America’s children live in poverty. What would you do to help families with children become economically self-sufficient and able to provide for their family’s needs?

To help families with children become economically self-sufficient, we need to move beyond the paltry minimum wage to a living wage and universal health care.  We can also reduce the income tax burden on working people by reducing the income tax while creating a carbon tax on pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels.  In this way, we reduce the tax on what we want to happen (jobs) while increasing the tax on what we don’t want (pollution and global warming gases). This will reduce debilitating poverty and at the same time, encourage our economy to become more efficient with resources to enhance our quality of life without further polluting our environment.  In this way, we can greatly reduce poverty and, at the same time, reduce the global warming gases that threaten future generations with catastrophic climate change.

6.    Millions of children have a parent in prison. How would you address the needs of these children?

Children with parents in prison need vibrant Community Learning Centers for after-school growth opportunities.   I would also work to reduce the high rates of incarceration in the United States with community-based correction systems.  Currently, the U.S. has up to seven times as many people in prisons, on a per-capita basis, as other industrialized countries.  To help our prison population return to their families as contributing members of society, we need to support drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health counseling, and job training as opposed to long prison sentences without proper opportunities for rehabilitation.  In the community, we need better transitional programs for ex-offenders.  We also need to strengthen the popular Community Development Block Grant program to better empower local residents in community-based organizations to address the challenges faced by local neighborhoods in building a stronger sense of community.


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