6:31 PM / Monday June 5, 2023

19 Apr 2013

8-year-old follows Tenn. lawmaker until he drops bill linking welfare to school grades

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April 19, 2013 Category: Stateside Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Aamira Fetuga, 8, following Tennessee Sen. Stacey Campfield. 

(Screen capture/The Tennessean video)


By Jorge Rivas


Last week I wrote about a bill in Tennessee that would cut welfare benefits from parents with children performing poorly in school. The bill cleared both the House and Senate committees but yesterday the lawmaker behind the bill dropped his support for the bill, claiming further research on the impact on families was necessary.


However, The Tennessean reports Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) may have dropped the bill because of a powerful 8-year-old girl:


Before Thursday’s session, activists organized a demonstration in the corridors of Legislative Plaza and the state Capitol. An 8-year-old girl confronted Campfield with a petition signed by opponents of the bill, and a choir of about 60 people, including some in clerical garb, sang “Jesus Loves the Little Children” outside the Senate chamber as lawmakers filed in.


Campfield walked away from the confrontation, saying repeatedly that he didn’t think children should be used as political props. But it was a long walk, and the confrontation extended over several minutes as video cameras recorded the back-and-forth.


“Why do you want to cut benefits for people?” 8-year-old Aamira Fetuga asked Campfield after she chased him up a Capitol escalator.


Fetuga went on to follow Campfield after the camera stop rolling. 


Campfield says he withdrew his bill because he didn’t have a full understanding of how the law would affect groups. 


“Did I know what the final result was going to be? No, I never do,” Campfield said on the Senate Floor on Thursday. “I got a lot of good feedback from people. … I think a lot of people were really close (to supporting it) but were just looking for a little bit more.”


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