Head Start parents reach out to lawmakers to protest sequestrati - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Head Start parents reach out to lawmakers to protest sequestration

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The National Head Start Association urged parents across the country to stroll in to their lawmaker's offices to protest cuts to the program because of sequestration.

Right now, 70,000 children are at risk for losing their spot in the program and 900 of those live right here in South Carolina.

Reports from the White House back up their numbers. The federally-funded program has been around for close to 50 years and offers at-risk children educational resources and basic life skills.

Here in our area, a group from Arthurtown and Tender Years Child Development centers participated.

"Head starts are going in into their congressmen and senators and saying, 'You know, stop this. We need this,'" said Jetrelle Simmons. 

Between Lexington, Richland, and Kershaw counties, they are about 1,000 children enrolled in Head Start. 

The group started out the day at Rep. Joe Wilson's office and then drove to Rep. James Clyburn's office to drop off petitions against the cuts. From there, they traveled to Sen. Tim Scott's office and finished up on Hampton Street at Sen. Lindsey Graham's office.

We also reached out to lawmakers and heard back from Clyburn, who issued this statement

"As a former teacher, I fully support the mission of Head Start and would like to see the program's funding restored. I am hopeful that Congress can come together on a common sense approach to reduce the deficit without doing so on the backs of our most vulnerable like the young children who benefit so much from Head Start."

And Wilson offered up this explanation:

"Congressman Wilson is very concerned with the results of the sequester.  From day one, he was opposed to the idea and voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, the legislation responsible for its implementation.  He has also voted, along with most House Republicans, two different times to replace it with common sense reforms.  The Congressman is very hopeful that the President and the Senate will begin to change their course and work with leadership in the House to stop these harmful budget cuts before the people of South Carolina are affected."

Graham's office had no comment and we are still waiting hear back from Scott.

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