To accompany the launch of our #Commit2Kids campaign, First Focus President Bruce Lesley sat down with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to discuss how we as a nation can elevate the issue of child poverty. 

With fewer than 100 days until the 2020 election, #Commit2Kids challenges candidates and elected officials nationwide to tell us how they plan to address the health, safety, and well-being of all our nation’s children. As a candidate in the presidential primaries, Sen. Booker unveiled a plan to reduce child poverty by 70%, stressing that while we have the tools to address the problem, the question is whether we will.

“The most valuable natural resource in a global knowledge-based society is the genius of a nation’s children,” Sen. Booker said during the conversation. “The nation that best cultivates that genius is the nation that best thrives.”

The United States has one of the highest child poverty rates in the developed world. Sen. Booker attributed our lag on the health and well-being of our children not to circumstance, but to conscious decisions that we make as a nation. He emphasized our failure to nurture low-income children and families with basic supports offered in other wealthy countries, such as prenatal care, affordable childcare, universal preschool, and other structures.

How can we as citizens take action and #Commit2Kids? Sen. Booker emphasized the collective nature of our democracy and the power of every individual. He urged individuals to step up and do more, by reserving even an hour a week to lobby, write letters, advocate or in some way make their voices heard. 

“What we have been doing has not been enough,” Booker said.  “Anybody who thinks they’re powerless, you are wrong.”