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LAUSD, Supervisor Candidates Weigh In On Early Childhood Programs

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Ms. Carmen, a teacher in the infant class, wears a face mask and a hair net for the safety of the children at Young Horizons Child Development Center. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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With widespread child care unavailable during the coronavirus pandemic, candidates for the District 2 seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors say it’s time to invest more in the youngest residents and their families.

State Senator Holly Mitchell and L.A. City Council member Herb Wesson outlined their plans for early childhood at a forum Wednesday hosted by LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment, Southern California Grantmakers and Unite-LA.

Both candidates acknowledged there isn’t always enough funding to go around – the county’s recent budget saw 8% cuts across its departments – but that they’d make early childhood a priority.

Mitchell said as chair of the California Senate Budget Committee, she advocated for creating a rainy day fund that was tapped to help stave off early childhood cuts in the state budget.

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“What I could say is look at my history,” Mitchell said. “Look at my record. Understand that I know that early care and education isn’t an area that we can afford to skimp.”

Wesson, who served as council president for eight years, pointed to Measure J, which would shift money from the Sheriff’s Department to community investment , as an opportunity to cover early childhood.

“I would have earmarked a percentage of that that’d go directly for early child care, development and other needs,” Wesson said. “I do not believe that it's too late to do that. So when, Lord willing, and the people will it, and I get there, that'll be one of the first things.”

The forum also included candidates for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education’s Seat 7.

Ahead of the Wednesday forum, the L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment and Unite-LA commissioned an online poll that found voters largely supported increased investment in early childhood programs.

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READ THE FULL STORY FOR MORE ON CANDIDATES' PLANS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD:

WATCH WESSON AND MITCHELL DEBATE OTHER ISSUES AT STAKE IN DISTRICT 2:

Note: The LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment also supports LAist’s early childhood coverage.

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