Tennessee State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) was followed around yesterday by a little girl at the state capitol, who kept asking why he was proposing a bill to link a family's welfare payments to the academic success of their children (video below).
Campfield’s bill would cause poor families to lose up to 30 percent of their money from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program if a child does not make “satisfactory academic progress” in school.
According to the Tennessean, an 8-year-old homeschooler named Aamira Fetuga presented an agitated Campfield with a petition signed by people opposing his welfare bill. Additionally, a choir of about 60 activists sang the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”
“Why do you want to cut benefits for people?” Fetuga asked Campfield after she caught up with him on a Capitol escalator.
“Well, I wouldn’t as long as the parent shows up to school and goes to two parent-teacher conferences and they’re exempt,” Campfield said in an agitated voice.
Later, as the girl and activists followed Camfield around the state capitol, he accused them of using the girl as a "prop."
“Using children as props is shameful,” he stated several times.
Campfield decided to withdraw the bill before the vote after several other Republicans questioned it.
Later, Campfield tried to spin his defeat to the media, reports NashvilleScene.com.
“I got lots of good feedback, actually,” he told reporters. “I like to think there’s enough to hopefully move us forward in a good direction over the summer. You know, I was surprised. Even afterward, everybody came up and said, ‘You know, as you described it, it is completely different than how it’s been portrayed. What you’re trying to do is a goal that I think everybody here has, and I think we need to get together and try to pound something out.’”
Sources: Tennessean and NashvilleScene.com