On October 10 a forum was held to discuss the problems facing children and families in the Monadnock region in Keene State College’s Mabel Brown Room. The event featured several candidates running for political office to represent the area, all of whom agreed that changes had to be made to accommodate children better in the Monadnock area.

Representatives from these organization first addressed the audience, giving some background for the issues facing children and their development. Marjorie Droppa of Impact Monadnock, stated that the time of most significance to a child’s success is the first five years of his or her life.

“A kindergarten teacher can accurately pinpoint children who are not going to graduate high school,” said an intern from Impact Monadnock.

The candidates were asked questions and each had a few minutes to respond. All the questions had to do children and family issues. Many of the candidates agreed that financial stress on parents is one of the main causes of impeded childhood development, they in turn outlined points to improve the economy in the area for families.

Some of the candidates, including the democratic nominee for district 10 state senate, Jay Khan, believed that raising the minimum wage would help low-income families. His opponent, republican Chester Lapointe, argued that raising the minimum wage would simply raise the cost of living and negate the positive effects of the change. Most of the candidates also believed that making college more affordable would also be beneficial.

The event was co-sponsored by Impact Monadnock, an organization which seeks to advocate for the region’s early childhood development, and the American Democracy Project, which describes itself as “an initiative that seeks to foster informed civic engagement in the United States.”

KSC senior Bridget Hartnett, said she agreed with the points of raising minimum wage, making college more affordable, and investing more money in early childhood education, but disagreed with the notion of bringing big manufacturing companies into the area to generate job. Hartnett said that, in general, more focus needs to be invested in childhood development. She said, “It shouldn’t matter what family their born into, everyone should have equal opportunity.”

Elliot Weld can be contacted at eweld@kscequinox.com 

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