For Immediate Release:
Oct. 10, 2013

(573) 751 - 4415
Asking Congress to Focus on the Children
Despite Government Shutdown

JEFFERSON CITY — The on-going stalemate between federal officials prompts me, a state senator who is responsible for serving as the voice of more than 175,000 citizens, to remind members of the U.S. House and Senate that they were elected to represent the people of this country and support vital programs, such as Head Start.  Created nearly 40 years ago, the National Head Start Association is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that serves as the voice of more than one million children that gives every young citizen the chance to succeed in life and reach their full potential. 

Since the government shutdown, numerous organizations and private citizens have donated their money, time and effort in order to keep Head Start’s crucial professional development services and programs available to those in the early childhood community.  I applaud the work of these individuals and private organizations that are picking up Congress’ slack and providing for our state’s children.  However, this is not their responsibility.  It’s time lawmakers in Washington, D.C. got their act together and did what was right for our children, not only in Missouri, but throughout our country.

Thanks to previous cuts to this extremely important program, 57,000 children were already eliminated from Head Start’s services.  Now, we’re talking 86,000 more that could be dramatically affected if our federal officials do not take immediate action.

Our children should not have to pay the price nor be used as pawns in this seemingly never-ending political game lawmakers are playing in Washington.  If Congress does not act soon, many of our local Head Start facilities will have to turn families away, ultimately closing the door to a bright and promising future for many of our state’s children. 

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed represents the 5th Senatorial District in the Missouri Senate, which serves a portion of St. Louis City.