Welfare Suggestions Go from Less to None Candidates Detail Abortion Beliefs, Education Ideas
Jo Mannies Post-Dispatch Political Correspondent, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
COUNTESS PRICE, 32, a lawyer in St. Louis, wants the candidates for the U.S. Senate to answer one question:
"What ideas do they have for really getting people off welfare?" she asks. "Poverty and ignorance force people to stay on it."
The 14 candidates running in Missouri for the Senate reply that they have lots of ideas on welfare. Some propose job training or public jobs. Others say more restrictions would discourage teen-agers from having children. And several call for ending welfare entirely, saying the federal government shouldn't pay states to run their welfare programs.
Jeaneanne Wallen, 55, of south St. Louis County, a retired brewery worker and a Democrat who has voted for Republicans, also wants to learn the candidates' stances on her other pet issue: education.
Every time voters approve more money for education, she says, politicians figure out a way to divert the money to other uses.
A third hot topic, as far as some voters are concerned, is abortion.
On education and abortion, the candidates also widely differ.
On Aug. 2, voters will pick nominees from three parties - Republican, Democrat and Libertarian - who will then compete in the Nov. 8 general election.
Following, in the order they will appear on the Aug. 2 ballot, are the candidates and their views on welfare, education and abortion. Democrats
Alan Wheat, a congressman from Kansas City for 12 years, says, "Make work pay more than welfare." He is a co-sponsor of a House bill that sets a two-year limit on welfare, while providing child care, health care, education and job-training services.
If the recipients can't get jobs in the private sector, Wheat's plan would provide them with public jobs. He also wants to simplify welfare programs, attack fraud and focus on the prevention of teen pregnancies.
On education, he helped lead a House effort to expand Missouri's Parents As Teachers program to other states. He supports the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
He supports abortion rights.
Marsha Murphy, the Jackson County executive, says the federal government should pattern welfare after Missouri's Futures program, which offers education and training for the mothers and care for their children.
She notes that the program has a waiting list. "We must return welfare to its original purpose: it is a hand up to people down on their luck, not a permanent way of life," she says.
Noting that she is former teacher, Murphy proposes to cut the federal bureaucracy in the Department of Education and send more dollars to the classroom. She advocates redirecting national priorities to advance the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
Murphy supports abortion rights.
Nicholas Clement, a newspaper carrier in St. Louis, says, "I am not for any welfare reform program I have seen. The greatest thing you can do for welfare is create jobs." And by that, he means good-paying jobs in the private sector, not "some useless job" created by government. In the meantime, welfare is necessary. "Throwing people off welfare is murder," he says.
Clement opposes outcome-based education, a philosophy that he contends stifles learning by promoting group learning over individual initiative.
He opposes abortion, except to save the life of the mother.
Gerald Ortbals, a lawyer in Richmond Heights, proposes "partial privatization" in which the federal government would give grants to private church and nonprofit agencies to help serve the needy.
"Instead of telling someone you're going to throw them on the street and take their kids away, we should create positive incentives involving a job and a family and a place in this world," he says.
On education, "No amount of money will address the current problems of public education until we create an adequate support system for kids" - either families or a substitute. …