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Bill Bradley on Families & Children

2000 Democratic Primary Challenger for President


Enforce child support more

When fathers want to help, the system discourages it. Mothers on welfare are required to turn over their claim to child support to the state. The state then collects child support, then keeps most of it to reimburse itself for welfare assistance. Ensuring that support paid by a parent goes to the child instead of the state would rectify this situation.
Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.111-12 , Aug 15, 2000

Government partnership creates family infrastructure

One way to convert our system into one that will allow working parents to breathe a little easier is to create partnerships among the federal government, the states, and communities that will improve early care and education for children five and under. [The partners] will determine how federal money can best be spent. Some communities may decide to use the funds to upgrade skills of workers in child care centers, or provide subsidies to increase access to child care, or increase the number of child care slots available. In all cases, the role of the state government would be to perform rigorous audits to assure accountability. States would be asked to march the federal contribution.

Everyone understands that government doesn’t raise good kids-parents & communities & neighbors do. But government, acting as a catalyst and in partnership with parents and communities, can provide the kind of supporting infrastructure that families need.

Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p. 74-75 , Aug 15, 2000

School violence: media responsibility & adult supervision

Q: How would you address this problem of violence in schools? A: First, we need common-sense gun control in this country that keeps guns out of the hands of children. Second, I think that the media has a responsibility. I think they have to be careful about putting their own personal financial interests ahead of all of us. And there needs to be a new ethic of responsibility in this country. And third, [with] parents are working so hard, we haven’t created enough safe spaces with adult supervision.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH , Dec 18, 1999

Expand Family Leave laws

Bradley advocated expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires employers with 50 or more employees to give workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year for reasons like childbirth or family illness. Bradley would expand the law to cover employers with 25 or more workers, bringing 12 million more people into its reach. He would also require employers to give workers 24 unpaid hours a year for less pressing situations, like parent-teacher conferences.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A24 , Oct 8, 1999

Global economy ignores the 6:30 dinner hour

Prosperity that fails to bolster families is hollow and unsustainable. We must make work and family work together and not against each other. The new global economy just doesn’t care about the 6:30 dinner hour. And it doesn’t care that you have aging parents as well as small children to look after. It doesn’t care that you’re too tired or have too little time to help with the kids’ homework. It doesn’t care that you don’t know how to use a computer. The global economy isn’t worrying about you at all.
Source: Associated Press, speech excerpts , Oct 7, 1999

Create a nationwide system for childcare

Today, child care in America is not a system at all, but a hodgepodge of underfunded, uncoordinated efforts. I propose to convert that hodgepodge into a sensible system that will allow working parents to breathe a little easier when it comes to child care. [I propose] finding a common-sense balance between family and work. Work and family are the twin sides of the American Dream. They are the keys to our happiness as individuals and to our success as a nation and as a family.
Source: Associated Press, speech excerpts , Oct 7, 1999

$2.6B for preschool, childcare, colleges, and volunteers

Painting an American portrait of stressed-out parents and deserted kitchen tables, Bill Bradley proposed $2.6 billion in annual help to families everything from preschool and child care, to community colleges and a new army of senior-citizen volunteers. “What individual families cannot build on their own, we can all build together,” Bradley said. He also echoed a proposal to expand the popular 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act to workers in smaller businesses than are currently covered.
Source: By Sandra Sobieraj, Associated Press , Oct 7, 1999

Proposed senior Americorps for mentoring kids

Bradley called for an older-person’s version of President Clinton’s “Americorps” that would offer tax-free stipends of $200 a month to senior citizens who volunteer at least 15 hours per week at approved nonprofit youth programs such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, school tutoring, or faith-based mentoring. Bradley said [his full proposal package] would be paid for out of the federal budget surplus, like his $65 billion-per-year universal health plan.
Source: By Sandra Sobieraj, Associated Press , Oct 7, 1999

Children are ignored because they have no political money

Why do we spend so much less on our children compared with almost every other industrialized nation? Children do not make donations to PACs, so they can’t buy influence. Big money sets our political agenda. The interests of children are not addressed because they’re not part of the big money system. Helping America’s children may seem a long way from reforming campaign finance, but they’re closely intertwined. In Washington, children are seen and not heard because it is money that talks the loudest.
Source: Speech at Para Los Ninos , Jun 16, 1999

Business; civil; govt; & parents: do more for kids

    To help children we must tap into 4 areas
  1. Business must do more: Recognize the importance of parents having the time to be with their children
  2. The civil sector must do more: Encourage mentors by letting senior citizens get paid without an off-set against Social Security.
  3. Government must do more: Raise the minimum wage & expand the earned income tax credit.
  4. And parents must do more: Go to school board meetings & parent-teacher conferences. Volunteer for school trips. Be a coach.
Source: Speech at Para Los Ninos , Jun 16, 1999

Free parents to raise good kids, rather than blame them

Too often these days, I hear people blaming parents. And, it is true, some parents must be held accountable for the misdeeds of their children. But the overwhelming number of parents are struggling to do what is best for their children. Parents are the child’s first and strongest moral compass. Let us not trash our nation’s parents; let us treasure them. Let us not take them to task; let’s give them a hand. Let us not limit them; let us liberate them. Let us free them to raise good kids.
Source: Speech at Para Los Ninos , Jun 16, 1999

Children in poverty need health care and day care

Every child in America [should have] a chance to realize his or her potential. We’ve got to do something about the one in five children in America living in poverty. We’ve got to help their parents help them [and] make sure they have access to health care. We have to make sure that in their first year or two of life they have a nurturing experience. We have to make sure that their parents have child care available to them after the children are three or four years of age.
Source: www.billbradley.com/ “On Children” 5/19/99 , May 19, 1999

Urban kids need connections & family to find meaning

Urban America [faces] a crisis of meaning. Without meaning, there can be no hope; without hope, there can be no struggle; without struggle, there can be no personal betterment. Absence of meaning, derived from overt and subtle attacks from racist quarters over many years and furthered by an increasing pessimism about the possibility of justice, offers a context for chaos and irresponsibility.

To expect kids who have no connection to religion, no family outside a gang, no sense of place outside “the ‘hood,” no imagination beyond the cadence of rap or the violence of TV, to find meaning in their lives is like expecting them to find water in a desert. If you don’t believe me, just ask a group of young black males how many of them are fathers. Only a few hands go up. Then ask them how many have made babies. Most of them raise their hands; sex to them has little to do with love and nothing to do with fatherhood or responsibility.

Source: Time Present, Time Past, p. 375 , Jan 8, 1997

Voted for National Service & summer youth programs

Source: (X-ref Education) Project Vote Smart -- Voting Record , Sep 26, 1995

Voted for V-Chip & telecomm self-censorship

Source: (X-ref Technology) Project Vote Smart -- Voting Record , Jun 14, 1995

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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

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Page last updated: Mar 13, 2014