By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers
One hundred and fifty families from 12 states started knocking on congressional doors today to push a progressive "National Family Platform." "It's holistic," former Democratic House Member Pat Schroeder tells Whispers about the plan. It offers a smorgasbord of recommendations to assist families in areas from education to housing that can be implemented at a local, state, and federal level. Schroeder is on the board of directors of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, which represents low-income families and helped write the platform.
The plan is somewhat idealistic. "No family should live in poverty," says the preamble of the 42-page document. The goal: Make families stronger. But some of the recommendations are sure to fire up the critics. Among them:
— Enact federal and local handgun controls.
— Provide teen parents child care.
— End zero-tolerance policies in schools because they lead to too many students going to prison.
— Lift the lifetime ban on public assistance to former prisoners.
— Provide sex education.
— Push states to provide for availability of paid sick days.
— Create a national healthcare program.
— Allow undocumented immigrant workers to get driver's licenses and in-state college tuition.
— Remove the wall being built on the country's southern border with Mexico.
Will it see action? Schroeder says it might with President Obama in office. "Obama was a community organizer, but what he'll say is that to be a community organizer, you have to keep the pressure on," says Schroeder. To that end, she said, the families lobbying Congress today will continue their work back home.
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