Presidential hopeful Karger discusses child and family issues during UNH visit
By RONI REINO
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DURHAM — Presidential GOP hopeful Fred Karger was hoping to gain some support on Monday night when he spoke on child and family issues in the Memorial Union Building at the University of New Hampshire.
John Huff/Staff photographer Presidential GOP candidate Fred Karger talks about his focus on child and family issues during a visit at the University of New Hampshire in Durham Monday.
Organizers said those running for office are missing the bigger picture, and they hope other candidates will take Karger’s lead and come speak at their events.
MaryLou Beaver, New England Chapter Director for Every Child Matters, said she was glad Karger took time to speak on his views. The event was co-sponsored by the Family Studies Department at UNH.
Beaver said Karger is the first candidate to step forward and participate in the forums. Others have been sent requests to come speak on child and family issues, but the New Hampshire division of the organization has yet to hear from others who would definitely speak. She said Buddy Roemer had tried to schedule a meeting, but had scheduling conflicts.
Although the economy and jobs are important issues, she said the immediate needs to children should be addressed.
“People need to feel secure that they can keep their homes and have a job to go to and take care of their families, but what we have been hearing from the candidates is we have to cut because we don’t want to leave our children in debt,” she said. “But what about the kids that are living in this economy?”
She said there are many who are seeking the support of government programs that could face more cuts in the coming years. In New Hampshire, she said there are 31,000 children living in poverty. At any given time, there are 15,000 children not covered by health insurance and an estimated 2,000 that are homeless.
“It’s important that we start thinking about their needs,” she said. At the event, Karger said the other candidates have not been calling education a top issue. He said while the economy and jobs are important, in the long term, it is necessary to focus on the future of the country — the children.
When asked how he feels about schools cutting music, art and other noncore courses to save money, Karger said he felt those programs are important for children’s education. He said he wants to see children get out of the classrooms and learn with hands-on experiences. To keep children in school, he said it is necessary to make courses fun.
“We need to work to expose all kinds of things,” he said. “Let’s show them other parts of life that trigger excitement.”
He also said he would like to see the voting age dropped, to help get students more involved in the government and their futures at a younger age. It would make Americans look at nationwide issues earlier. He said he would advocate for increased employment opportunities within the U.S., hoping to put more Americans to work. He supports the idea of microloans to help startup businesses across the country, and advocated for a federal tax credit to allow people to move for a new job.
He suggested if there was an incentive for people to move where there are jobs, more Americans could afford to go back to work.
“We need the economy turned around,” he said. “Right now the politicians are afraid to do anything.”
UNH senior MacKenzie Flessas said she attended the Monday evening event to see Karger’s views on family issues in the United States.
“I wanted to hear what his ideas were for educational reform,” she said.
Although Karger seemed to say he wanted to change the way education is presented in America, Flessas said she was worried Karger didn’t have a plan to make it happen.
“He says he wants education reform, and that he wants to put money into schools, but he didn’t say how,” she said.
Video of the event will be available at www.everychild matters.org.