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Howard Dean on Families & Children

Former VT Governor; Former Democratic Candidate for President


Think long-term to benefit our children

Perhaps the greatest problem in American politics today is that so many people in Washington tend to think in two and four year cycles. We don’t think long term, yet children are a long term proposition.

Politicians set their clocks by election cycles. Too often their solutions to problems are two- and four-year fixes. But most of our problems require a vision that looks far into the future, fixes that must work long after that election cycle is history. I learned that lesson day-by-day over my 11 years as Governor of Vermont. Budget decisions I made in the my first term impacted budget decisions I made in my tenth term. Environmental protections I fought for in my early years will benefit my children and grandchildren far into the future. I stopped framing my decisions in a two-year viewfinder, but soon began looking five, ten and even 100 years into the future.

Source: Campaign web site, DeanForAmerica.com, “On the Issues” , Nov 30, 2002

Encourage fathers' participation in child-raising.

Dean adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

Growing evidence suggests that children from families in which fathers do not contribute their time and support endure a number of risk factors. Children with absent fathers are more likely to drop out of school, become teenage parents, develop drug or alcohol problems, or become involved in violent criminal behavior. Congress and the administration have recently proposed a number of federal programs to support state and local fatherhood initiatives.

NGA’s Position

Governors believe that government at all levels can and should take immediate action to help reduce the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage active participation by fathers of all ages in raising their children. Governors have played a leadership role at both the national and state level in developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to strengthen the role of fathers in their childrens’ lives. While many Governors are using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other federal program funds to support state-specific fatherhood initiatives, additional investment in fatherhood would broaden the population of fathers that can be served. Governors believe that there should be support of and coordination between existing programs and any new federal funding stream designated for fatherhood initiatives and that these new initiatives should not be funded at the expense of another vital human service program.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA12 on Sep 7, 2001

Federal funds & state involvement in fatherhood initiatives.

Dean adopted the National Governors Association policy:


Source: NGA policy HR-28. Fatherhood Policy 01-NGA6 on Aug 15, 2001

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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014