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Georgia’s children, all 2.4 million of them, make up one of the largest blocks of citizens but,come next Tuesday, they have no vote. 

When you and I go to the polls, let us raise our voices for children.  Let’s reflect on which candidates — from the highest position of governor to the many influential positions in the legislature, school boards, and county commissions — will help to set a vision for Georgia that gives high priority to children.

The Gubernatorial Candidates spoke on early childhood at the Children’s Summit (select clip 4 and 5).  The Superintendent Candidates responded to questions sponsored by education and child advocates.  And the candidates for Insurance Commissioner were queried about the new health law.

There is no “do-over” for childhood.   We have only one chance to get it right.  When the governor we elect on November 2 leaves office in 2015 or 2019, our toddlers should be reading, our middle schoolers should be dreaming of higher education, and our high schoolers should be nurses, lawyers, plumbers, developers — the workforce that we all depend on. 

For their sake and for ours, let’s get it right on November 2.

As the November 2 elections draw closer and as the rhetoric among the candidates becomes more heated, Georgians may start to feel “voter fatigue” and may begin to wonder if any common ground exists among the candidates. Thankfully, we do have an example of how the two leading candidates for Governor each has demonstrated leadership and support for a program that is helping many working families in Georgia—PeachCare for Kids. PeachCare is our state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which was created by federal legislation in 1997 and was implemented in Georgia in 1998. Although the initial creation of CHIP was through the work of federal legislators on Capitol Hill, it was our leaders here in the state who put it to work for Georgians. Governor Barnes was in office at the time that the PeachCare program was off and running, and Congressman Deal was one of the federal representatives who boldly spoke out about the importance of PeachCare when the program was threatened with extinction in 2008.

The conversations may become more heated. The tv ads and mailers seemingly may be caked in mud. BUT we have seen how each of these men has stepped up in the past to make sure that Georgia’s PeachCare program was not only effective for kids and families but also cost-effective for the state.

We can only hope that the success of PeachCare’s creation is eclipsed by even greater policies to benefit kids and families in Georgia throughout the next four years.

Joann Yoon, Assoc. Policy Director for Child Health

Voices for Georgia’s Children

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