Philly Democratic mayoral candidates take students' questions

Katherine Scott Image
Monday, May 4, 2015
VIDEO: Students question candidates
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Philadelphia students asked the questions to mayoral candidates.

SPRING GARDEN (WPVI) -- They may be too young to vote, but they're not too young to learn.

On Monday, Philadelphia school children got a chance to get a close up look at the candidates and what they think about the issues.

Serenity Fuller wants to be mayor one day.

At 11 years old, she already knows the focus of her platform will be the next generation.

"Help younger people be what they want to be and don't let nobody push them around," Fuller said.

But today it was the Philadelphia Democratic mayoral candidates' turn to share their platforms as they answered some tough questions.

And those questions came from elementary school students.

"I think they feel a little nervous," 5th grader Kirk Brown said.

"I just want to know what the first thing they would work on," 5th grader Haniyyah Hill said.

The Rendell Center hosted the forum that took place at School District Headquarters.

Five of the Democratic candidates attended.

The Republican candidate is running unopposed and will be invited to an event at a later date.

Students were looking to hear more about the issues important to them.

"Housing, financial issues," 5th grader Kristen Brown said.

"Homelessness, people need more shelter," Hill said.

The questions and the answers were streamed to classrooms across the city.

The goal here is to plant the seeds for civic engagement so students are more likely to vote and more likely to get involved.

"Young people today don't get taught enough about the way government operates so by the time they are out of high school they have no interest," former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said.

"We want children to, number one, understand the process, number two, be part of the solution, be a part of their community," Philadelphia School Superintendent Dr. William Hite said.

The idea is to develop an interest in the issues and the process early. After all, these kids aren't voters now, but they will be one day.

"If they're taught about government, if they see it in operation, if they partake in it, they're going to be good citizens," Rendell said.

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