In case you missed it, we want to highlight this feature article from Politico last Friday that covers the strong momentum in both parties for increased investments in Early Childhood Education.
GOP Strategist Kevin Madden argues that Republicans need to have a plan for early childhood education if they are going to win swing voters:
“pre-K could be a winner for a governor or future presidential candidate looking to paint himself or herself as ideas-driven and to cut into a Democratic opponent’s pull with swing voters, said Kevin Madden, an ex-Romney campaign adviser and executive vice president at JDA Frontline.
‘Democrats have gone head-first into this economic inequality or economic opportunity argument,” Madden said. ‘Republicans feeling a need to engage can look at this — at the education issue and at early childhood development — as an area where they can have an impact.’”
Democrat Jim Messina agrees:
“Former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who has pulled pre-K into Democratic campaigns in recent years, was more blunt: ‘This issue is one [Republicans] almost have to move on before the next presidential campaign,’ he said at a recent event hosted by early childhood advocacy group First Five Years Fund.”
Politico details the efforts of red state governors to push Early Childhood Education, many of whom are considered potential candidates for the 2016 presidential race.
For example, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, fending off a challenge from Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer, released a campaign ad promoting his administration’s pre-K policies.
And Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott has made pre-K funding a centerpiece of his education platform and the Florida Republican Party has a Spanish-language ad on the topic. The FFYF poll released in July shows that 80 percent of Hispanic voters – a key swing vote – support increased funding for Early Childhood Education.
Meanwhile, HELP Committee Senators on both sides of the aisle are embracing preschool and other early learning proposals, even as they struggle to agree on the best approach.
Republican Senator Johnny Isakson says:
“I don’t know of a single person on the Republican side of the HELP Committee that is anti-pre-K”
All in all, the Politico article paints a picture of strong momentum for Early Childhood Education as we enter the final stretch of campaign season. Voters are geared up to support new investments in early learning and leaders from both parties are taking notice.