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Al Gore on Families & Children

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


Teaching career focuses on family in America

Gore has thrown himself into his new career as a teacher, and is writing a book with his wife Tipper on the family in America. In the fall, Gore plans to resume teaching at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Nashville’s Fisk University, and Middle Tennessee State University, three schools where he taught courses last semester. He is developing a curriculum at the University of California, Los Angeles, for a program on “family-centered community building,” a subject he plans to lecture on at several universities.

Like former president Clinton, Gore has been hitting the lecture circuit [where] he has tended to avoid political commentary. Publicly, Gore has been conspicuously silent since the election - even on the environment, which was his signature issue and which has become a major focus and point of debate in Bush’s first six months in office. Gore refrained from commenting on the Bush administration for a time to allow the nation to recover from the bitterly contested election.

Source: Susan Baer, Baltimore Sun Jun 24, 2001

Fiscal discipline helps single people as well as families

Q: What is one example of something in your plans that would improve opportunities for single adults past their college years?

A:In just a few days, Americans will have a choice between two very different visions for America. My vision is of responsible tax cuts targeted to help the middle-class, paying down the national debt to strengthen Social Security, Medicare and our economy and making key investments in education, health care, law enforcement and the environment. Single adults will benefit from my plan to ensure that Social Security is there when they retire, while creating a new 401 (k)-style investment plan to help people save for retirement, buy a first home or get new job training. They will benefit from good new jobs that result from fiscal discipline and key investments in new technologies. And they will have an easier time buying a home or paying off student loans, as we eliminate the national debt to keep down interest rates.

Source: Associated Press Nov 6, 2000

Faith and family are America’s biggest strengths

Gore said, “The center of my life is faith and family and I have a passion in my heart to fight for the families who most need a champion, those who wake up each day dedicated to their children, their churches and their communities, the families who need just a little bit more help to live out their own values and pass them on to the children. We need to stand on the foundation of prosperity and make a new commitment to strong families and strong values because they are the real strengths of America.”
Source: Gore speech, NY Times Oct 23, 2000

Abstinence Ed in the context of comprehensive Sex Ed

Q: Do you support the initiative to encourage young people to abstain from sex but not allow discussion of birth control?

A: I support a comprehensive strategy to prevent teen pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases that includes abstinence education and other measures. I believe that community leaders are in the best position to identify those family-planning strategies that will be most effective within their respective communities.

Source: Associated Press Sep 22, 2000

Hold entertainment industry accountable

Gore said he would give industry officials six months to “clean up their act.” “If the industry violates its own rules and actively misleads parents with advertising, then the industry should be held accountable. If the industry promises parents that it will not market violent material to children and then proceeds to do so, then the industry’s practices could constitute false and deceptive advertising.”
Source: Kevin Sack, NY Times Sep 11, 2000

Enable 7 of 10 families to own a home

Source: 191-page economic plan, “Prosperity for American Families” Sep 6, 2000

Focus on “working families” via tax cuts & education

While Democrats have been speaking to “working families” for years, the Gore campaign has recently latched on to the theme as a way of appealing to women. Gore used the “working families” phrase in his 1988 campaign for president. And it became popular among Democrats after the Republicans swept the Congress in 1994. Gore tried out the concept of “working families” late last year with the slogan “Change that works for working families.”

Behind the phrase lies an entire political strategy, marking a broad, thematic shift, intended to energize the party’s base, [especially] women. Gore’s tax cuts are aimed specifically at working families -- tax credits for college tuition, day care, after-school programs, long-term health care, retirement and investments. A Gore adviser explained that “[working families] implies we’re talking about the people who really need government to be on their side. The federal government would be a real partner in terms of education.”

Source: Katharine Q. Seelye, NY Times, p. A18 Aug 22, 2000

Tax cuts for families will help care for both young and old

Declaring that the “right kind of tax cuts are good for our economy,” Al Gore today discussed his plan for more than $500 billion in tax cuts for working families. Among other things, Gore’s plan eliminates the marriage penalty for working families, helps working people afford quality health coverage, makes child care more affordable, helps families save for college and supports families in meeting the expense of caring for elderly or disabled loved ones.
Source: (X-ref Tax Reform) Press Release, “Help Working Families” Jun 15, 2000

Parental Responsibility Accounts: dads pay kids, not welfare

Gore yesterday expanded on ideas to help dads pay child support. Gore said, “The father can no longer be cropped out of the family photograph.”

Currently, noncustodial parents-mostly fathers-of children on welfare write their child-support checks to the state, which keeps the money to offset its welfare payments to the parent who has custody of the child. Under Gore’s proposal, states would be encouraged to let $50 pass directly to the family each month, with the balance accrued to “parental responsibility accounts“ that would be available to the child in a lump sum or monthly payments once his or her mother moves off welfare.

Gore said his proposal ”will give the father a new incentive to pay child support and it gives the mother a new incentive to leave welfare.“ With the federal government making up to states what they lose, these pass-through and ”responsibility accounts“ would represent the bulk of the $2.9 billion, 10-year cost of Gore’s family package.

Source: Boston Globe, p. A10 Jun 3, 2000

Employ “dead-broke dads”, crack down on “deadbeat dads.”

Source: Press Release, “Next Generation of Welfare Reform” Jun 2, 2000

After-school care for 10 million kids

Gore today announced new after-school investments to help working families and their children. Gore’s plan would help provide quality after-school care to up to 10 million young people, helping them stay safe and meet higher education standards and allowing parents more peace of mind during their workdays. The initiatives would expand 21st Century Learning Centers to provide after-school programs, offer parents a new after-school tax credit, challenge schools to stay open late, help equip school buildings for after-school programs, and assure that after-school programs are high quality.

“Government doesn’t raise children; families do,” Gore said. “No policy proposal can teach a child right from wrong. No executive order can re-connect a deadbeat parent to a son or daughter. But we can make it easier, not harder, to be a strong family. If I’m entrusted with the presidency, that’s exactly what I’ll do.”

Source: Press Release “After-School Initiatives” May 25, 2000

50% After-School Tax Credit for kids 6 to 16

Gore’s “New Family Agenda” would help working families pay for after-school programs by offering a new refundable After-School Tax Credit (ASTC) for families with children age 6 to 16. Building on the non-refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), which is limited to children through age 12, the ASTC would provide up to a 50% credit (depending on income) for after-school expenses. This new credit will help the parents of 5 million young people ages 13 to 16 pay for quality after-school.
Source: Press Release “After-School Initiatives” May 25, 2000

Solution is gun control, V-chips, and character education

Marking the one-year anniversary of the Columbine tragedy, Al Gore today stressed the need to address the challenge of school violence “from every angle,” and discussed a variety of approaches to prevent future tragedies. “We still search for the meaning that lies behind this tragedy,” Gore said. “But as I said at Columbine just days after the shootings, all of us must change our lives to honor these children. For every one of us is responsible for the children of our culture.” Stressing the need to identify the early warning signs of trouble, Gore called for making counseling more available, improving discipline and expanding character education in schools.
Source: Press Release, Fort Lee, NJ Apr 20, 2000

Elian’s interests paramount over diplomatic interests

Gore’s advisers argue that Gore’s position is consistent with what he has said throughout the controversy -- that he wants the boy’s interests to be paramount in the case. He decided that immigration law was less concerned with that priority than with issues of diplomatic precedent, aides said. And Gore believes that extending permanent residency status to Elian’s father would allow him to state his preferences without fear of reprisal from Fidel Castro.
Source: John Harris, Washington Post, p. A1 & A4 Apr 1, 2000

Tax credits for child care for working & at-home families

Q. What role do you think the government should play in ensuring that every child has access to safe, affordable and reliable child care?
A. I support providing tax credits and expanding the Child and Dependant Care Tax Credit to help 3 million working families afford quality child care. I also support proposals to ensure that child-care facilities are up to standards that are safe for children. And I support tax credits for parents who choose to stay at home to care for their own children.
Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

We need more self-restraint in the media

Q: Your comments on the release of the Columbine High School videotapes. A: [Among other things], we need more self-restraint in the media. You know, 20,000 murders viewed by the average child by the time of high school graduation is just ridiculous. You saw in those videotapes how the two perpetrators of that violence made reference to a particular violent video game and made other references to popular culture. That’s not to blame popular culture. But I think that some kids are vulnerable to having seeds planted that bear a bitter fruit. I think we need more psychologists and guidance counselors, more help for schools to take the steps that they think will be most effective in their school districts. And finally, we also need to address the deeper problems of giving kids a sense that their lives have meaning and purpose, and that means committing ourselves to their future, modernizing their schools, reducing the size of the classrooms.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

After-school programs prevent most drug use

The hours between 2 & 6 are the most perilous hours of the day for our children. A teenager is most likely to take up smoking between the hours of 2 & 6. A teenager is most likely to do drugs and alcohol between the hours of 2 & 6. A teenager is most likely to get caught up in crime between the hours of 2 & 6. That means we must engage our children in positive, constructive activities between the hours of 2 & 6, [by expanding] access to quality after-school care for all our children.
Source: (Cross-ref from Drugs) Speech to National PTA, “Protecting O Jun 14, 1999

Tobacco is greatest threat to kids’ health

There is no greater threat to the health and safety of our children than tobacco. Tobacco hooks 3,000 teens every day, and more than 1,000 will die from it. If our children don’t start smoking by the time they turn 19, they’re unlikely to start at all. The President’s anti-tobacco plan will reduce teen smoking by 42% over the next five years. I call on Congress to pass comprehensive, bipartisan anti-tobacco legislation -- and to do it now.
Source: (Cross-ref from Health Care) Speech to National PTA, “Protec Jun 14, 1999

Protect kids from Internet smut as part of “e-rate”

The “e-rate” discounts make sure all our schools & libraries have affordable access to Internet service. [Now, we must protect kids] from harmful words & images on the Internet. [We should not] use uniform Internet blocking software [as a] “one-size-fits all” solution. Today, I [propose that] every school & library that applies for the e-rate come up with its own plan for protecting children from objectionable Internet content. These plans would be developed in the community-not in the Congress.
Source: (Cross-ref from Technology) Speech to National PTA, “Protect Jun 14, 1999

Pre-school available to every child in every community

I have listened to working parents and I know our work is not done. As your President, I’ll work to make pre-school available to every child, in every family, in every community in America. Your children deserve not only a more flexible workplace for their parents, they deserve the best education in the world as well. Parents deserve schools that are places of excellence -- schools that welcome their involvement, prepare their children for the future, and make it easier to raise strong families.
Source: Women for Gore speech, Washington DC Jun 1, 1999

Supports V-Chip and parental controls over TV & Internet

Al Gore has spoken. about the responsibility of the fast-growing Internet industry to make cyberspace a safer place for America’s youngest children, by empowering parents and schools to choose appropriate content. [Gore supports] legislation requiring a V-Chip in new TV sets, to let parents block violent or otherwise inappropriate content, as well as voluntary agreements with the TV industry for both TV ratings and expanded children’s educational programming.
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/families.html 5/16/99 May 16, 1999

More restrictions on underage smoking

Right now, tobacco hooks 3,000 American children every day -- and will lead 1,000 of them to an early death.
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/health.html 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

Enroll uninsured children in federal health programs

Gore has been at the forefront of efforts to extend health care coverage to uninsured children -- recruiting every part of the Federal government -- from HUD to Head Start -- in helping states identify and enroll eligible children.
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/health.html 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

Supports Family and Medical Leave Act

We must recognize the challenges of balancing home and work -- and the dual responsibilities of caregiver and breadwinner. The very first bill President Clinton signed back in 1993 was Family and Medical Leave. I co-sponsored that bill in the Senate. Now, millions of American workers have been able to take time off to be with a sick child, parent, or a newborn, without fear of losing their jobs.
Source: Speech to National Women’s Law Center Nov 19, 1998

Give parents tools to balance work and family.

Gore adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Strengthen America’s Families
While the steady reduction in the number of two-parent families of the last 40 years has slowed, more than one-third of our children still live in one- or no-parent families. There is a high correlation between a childhood spent with inadequate parental support and an adulthood spent in poverty or in prison.

To strengthen families, we must redouble efforts to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, make work pay, eliminate tax policies that inadvertently penalize marriage, and require absent fathers to pay child support while offering them new opportunities to find work. Because every child needs the attention of at least one caring and competent adult, we should create an “extended family” of adult volunteer mentors.

Family breakdown is not the only challenge we face. As two-worker families have become the norm, harried parents have less time to spend on their most important job: raising their children. Moreover, parents and schools often find themselves contending with sex- and violence-saturated messages coming from an all-pervasive mass entertainment media.

We should continue public efforts to give parents tools to balance work and family and shield their children from harmful outside influences. For example, we should encourage employers to adopt family-friendly policies and practices such as parental leave, flex-time, and telecommuting. Public officials should speak out about violence in our culture and should press the entertainment media to adopt self-policing codes aimed at protecting children.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC4 on Aug 1, 2000

Other candidates on Families & Children: Al Gore on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Dec 07, 2008