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Published in Print: November 3, 1999, as Election Notebook

Election Notebook

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Bradley Proposes Plan To Reduce Child Poverty

As part of his campaign plan for lifting children out of poverty, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley recently proposed spending more on child care and early-childhood education, guaranteeing health care for all children, and creating a new program to recruit teachers for urban and rural districts.

The former U.S. senator from New Jersey unveiled his multi-faceted "Bradley Plan to Help Children in Poverty'' at a Baptist church in New York City on Oct. 21. He also touched on those themes in an Oct. 27 debate in New Hampshire with his rival for the Democratic nomination, Vice President Al Gore.

Mr. Bradley's proposal would expand some existing social and welfare programs to aid parents, as well as raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour.It would also increase federal subsidies for child care, seek to enroll an additional 400,000 children in Head Start programs (up from the current 830,000 children in the program), match senior-citizen volunteers with schools and other children's programs, and create "second-chance homes'' for pregnant teenagers.

The proposal also calls for a $1.3 billion program to recruit 60,000 new teachers to work in urban and rural schools in impoverished areas, through scholarships, loan forgiveness, and professional development, as well as changing certification requirements to allow more second- career teachers into the field. Mr. Bradley also proposed expanding after-school programs to allow a wide variety of community activities in school facilities. If elected, Mr. Bradley said, his goal would be to lift 3 million children out of poverty in his first term and an additional 4 million in a second term. About 13.5 million U.S. children now are in families that live below the poverty line, according to his campaign.

Earlier this fall, Mr. Gore called for expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, or chip. Mr. Gore, the only other candidate currently seeking the Democratic nomination in 2000, has also supported President Clinton's plan to hire 100,000 new teachers and spend more on after-school programs. And, on Oct. 20, Mr. Gore called for initiatives to crack down on deadbeat dads and encourage responsible fathering as a means to end child poverty and reform welfare.

Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush urged teenagers at a high school rally in Orange City, Iowa, to abstain from sex, alcohol, and drugs. Mr. Bush, the governor of Texas and the front-runner for the GOP nomination, said he wanted to raise federal funding for sexual-abstinence programs to the levels of programs that discuss contraceptives.

About 900 students from two local high schools attended the Oct. 26 event, and some of them questioned Mr. Bush about his general acknowledgment of "past mistakes." Mr. Bush declined to elaborate, beyond telling the students at Floyd Valley High School of an incident in college in which he got drunk and stole a Christmas wreath.

--Joetta L. Sack

Vol. 19, Issue 10, Page 24

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