Children are on the Ballot – A MUST Read

| November 3, 2014

Children Are On the Ballot

Children do not vote. And, they do not have Super PACs that contribute money to political campaigns. As a result, they count on us to be their voices with policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels of government.

And, if politicians are not listening and are taking actions contrary to the needs of children, voters must hold them accountable for their actions or inactions or we will fail our kids and our future.

Several years ago, political consultant Frank Luntz did some important work on this problem for the children’s advocacy community. He conducted several focus groups, including one in Des Moines, Iowa, and asked a cross-section of voters what their priorities were. Voters quickly spoke up and mentioned an array of priorities that came to mind, including Iraq, Afghanistan, jobs, Medicare, Social Security, immigration, pensions, roads, and even the inconvenience of talking off shoes for airport screenings. With the exception of one person that mentioned education, nobody else spoke up to mention children’s issues as a priority.

Therefore, Luntz asked the focus group members to raise their hands if they were a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or were working in a profession that dealt with children. The vast majority of people in the room raised their hand, so he asked them why they didn’t care about kids.

Fireworks ensued with some people jumping out of their chairs to point their finger at Luntz and challenge his accusation that they didn’t care. They forcefully asserted that children were a priority, and some argued that children were, in fact, their #1 priority.

Luntz responded that they only have themselves to blame for his accusation since, with only one exception, they did not mention kids when he asked them for their priorities. In fact, some of the focus group members that were most angry had mentioned several top priorities other than children.

In the ensuring discussion, it was apparent that voters, even those whose top priority were children, often failed to recognize that public policy and government was important to kids. But it so often is and that lack of awareness can be detrimental to kids, as policymakers far too often neglect their needs.

……………………And in Arizona, advocates have expressed frustration that children are falsely being used to push a ballot measure, Proposition 122, which would attempt to give the state authority to undermine federal laws. Despite the claim, children would not benefit from the measure and the Children’s Action Alliance argues that the effort is a “dangerous distraction to the real work Arizona needs to sustain our new commitment to child safety.”


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Category: Child Welfare, Education, Resources

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