We invited the gubernatorial candidates who had raised over $1Million as of the July 2019 Ethics Reporting to join us at our annual meeting. None of their schedules allowed them to attend live with us, so we asked the two candidates that did respond to our invitation to answer six questions about state of children in Louisiana. We offered to send each candidate a videographer to record their answers to be presented at our meeting. Only Governor John Bel Edwards' campaign recorded answers to our questions, Congressman Ralph Abraham sent a written statement. Below are the six questions we asked and their answers. Download a printed version here.
1) Based on what we know about early brain development and the impact of adverse childhood events, what are your thoughts on improving early childhood well-being and reducing the number of children who enter the child welfare system, many of whom are aged 0 - 2?
2) Many working families struggle to afford high-quality childcare for their children including both young children and after school programs for older kids. Do you believe this impacts the economic and workforce development of the state and if so, what are your plans to help families get the childcare their need for their children?
3) Given that 71% of Louisiana third graders cannot read on grade-level, would you support legislation and funding to equip educators in kindergarten through third grade with evidence-based reading practices to ensure that Louisiana's students become strong readers?
4) According to the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, Louisiana currently leads the South in healthcare access for children due to Medicaid expansion. What will you do to ensure that all children continue to have access to the health services they need?
5) Low-income working families pay the highest percentage of their income in state and local taxes, making it harder for them to afford basic necessities. What are your plans to make Louisiana’s tax structure more equitable?
6) Do you believe that Louisiana spends enough money on its children. If not, what are your plans to increase funding?
The answers from the gubernatorial candidates are below: