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Candidates for Colorado Kids

Last Thursday, gubernatorial candidates Dan Maes and John Hickenlooper were in a forum about children's issues at Colorado Children's Hospital in Aurora where they answered questions asked by voters. In this case, the three candidates running for governor are John Hickenlooper, Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo, but Tancredo pulled out of this forum to attend a fundraiser.
 
Both candidates seemed relaxed and made their audience laugh multiple times. The first to answer questions was Dan Maes. When Maes answered the questions sometimes he said he had a plan and other times he said he would consult with a group of experts to help him decide the right thing to do. The subject of childhood obesity was brought up and Maes replied, "We are cheating our children. We are depriving them of the physical activity that we had when we were kids." He added that we need to not have vending machines with unhealthy food in schools and there should be PE everyday of our child's education. Maes also said, "Our children cannot suffer." He said we have to keep school choice for parents because competition will make schools improve. "I don't have lofty solutions. I have common sense solutions," Maes told the audience.
 
When it was John Hickenlooper's turn, he stated the first two things he would do to improve K-12 education. First, he said, there needs to be an assessment system for teachers and students to test how well they are each doing. Secondly, he said, we need to make the best use of federal funds. He also said that he believes the school day should be longer so kids can have a chance to exercise every day. Hickenlooper said that high level aerobic exercise helps kids learn. "There is a 'stickiness' in their ability to hold on to facts and concepts and how they interrelate because of a result of kids exercising." Hickenlooper promised that, if he were elected, he would try to get more eligible kids receiving free food from the schools. "Roughly half our kids who are eligible for this (SNAP-Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) are getting it. The same is true with the free lunch program." Hickenlooper said he believes that the greatest investment we can make right now is focusing on those kids that are most at risk and then going on from there. "We need to prioritize to help the greatest number of people."

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