On Friday, November 1st, Caucus for Kids advocates sat down with Senator Cory Booker to discuss his plans for our nation’s children and families.
The advocates included Emilee Harris from Every Child Matters, Rob Barron from the Des Moines School Board, Sheila Hansen with the Child and Family Policy Center, Lana Shope with the Iowa Community Action Association, Angelica Cardenas with the Child and Family Policy Center, Sue Dinsdale with Iowa Citizen Action Network and Rebecca Galvin who is a parent from the Conmigo Early Learning Center.
During the conversation, Booker stated that he would ensure that every child received the health care they need by making coverage affordable for all families. “If we were going to design the system from anew,” he said, “we would design a single-payer system.” Acknowledging that getting there would be a challenge, Booker committed to making gains on coverage and cost throughout his presidency. Booker went on to say that in Iowa, just as everywhere else in the country, we need to continue in our efforts to bring early childhood education to the forefront of our nation’s issues to make sure that every child has access to child care and early education.
When asked about ensuring the safety of all children, Booker stated that he would be the president to see the end of gun violence in schools and in our communities. He also said that he was passionate about child welfare and would make it a priority to fix the foster care system. Booker then highlighted his recent childhood poverty plan, which restructures many programs and benefits that low income families rely on, including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Tax Credit, as well as improving programs such as SNAP, TANF and LIHEAP.
Responding to a question about equal opportunity, Booker brought up his “baby bonds” proposal, which he touted as a tool to close the racial wealth gap. The proposal would guarantee every child $1000 at birth in an interest-accruing account that would receive deposits every year based on the child’s household income. With this, every child would receive access to their bond upon turning 18, with amounts that would range from $10,000 to $50,000. This would give children opportunities to do things that create wealth in their communities, Booker said, such as going to college or buying a home.
When asked about paid family leave, Booker stated that there is bipartisan support for progress on that issue. His ideal plan for would look similar to unemployment insurance, in which employees save $5 a week towards paid family leave that they can use. Lastly, Booker responded to a question about domestic abuse, stating that he would ensure that emotional abuse is once again included in the Violence Against Women Act, and would seek to expand on that legislation to ensure the safety of women and children.
To hear our full conversation with Senator Booker, watch the video above.
The Children’s Policy Coalition is calling on every presidential candidate to address the issues affecting children and families. Candidate responses are shared here for informational purposes only. The Children’s Policy Coalition does not endorse candidates or parties. We’re caucusing for kids!