ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton promised Monday to dramatically expand education opportunities for young children, vowing to make “high quality preschool” available for all 4-year-old children in the next ten years.
The Democratic candidate for president focused the first major policy proposal of her campaign on universal pre-K education — an issue championed both by liberal voices in her party, as well as by more conservative governors in Republican-led states, including Texas.
“You shouldn’t think of childcare as just a place to deposit your kids– a warehouse,” Clinton said while campaigning in Rochester, New Hampshire. “We should invest in programs to address the needs of parents and children.”
Speaking to an audience of parents and children at a YMCA early childhood education center, Clinton offered a first glimpse at her education platform, saying she would double both federal funds and grants for Head Start programs and propose a tax cut to help parents with the costs of raising children under the age of 3.
She also linked affordable childcare to what she called a need for better programs to help with mental health and substance abuse — two other policy focuses of her early campaign.
“We have to extend every program, every tax break, everything we do to people who are taking care of kids,” she said, speaking to a grandmother at the center who said she was raising her grandchildren because of addiction problems in her family.
“Whatever I propose you will be eligible for,” Clinton added.
Clinton has long pushed for expanding educational opportunities for young children, starting a program at her family foundation to improve the health and well-beings of children under age 5.
In New Hampshire, she turned her advocacy into slam on her potential GOP rivals. She said Republicans in Congress had cut funding for early education programs in their recent budget, saying they prioritized hedge fund investors and oil companies over children.
“Did they cut subsidies to oil companies? Did they cut tax loopholes?” she said. “The Republicans took care of those at the top and cut the kids.”
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