Minnesota Children’s Forum will query gubernatorial candidates on how to ensure next generation’s success

Minnesota children’s health and education will be the focus of a gubernatorial forum on Monday, Oct. 11. The Minnesota Children’s Forum: Ensuring Success for Our Next Generation will be hosted by Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation (MELF), with MinnPost as media partner.

Gubernatorial candidates Mark Dayton (DFL), Tom Emmer (Republican), and Tom Horner (Independence) will participate in the hour-long event, which will begin at noon. MinnPost journalist Roxane Battle will facilitate the forum, which will have a question-and-answer format.

All Minnesotans are encouraged to get involved to ensure that children’s issues are thoroughly debated this campaign season. An interactive Minnesota Children’s Forum website offers a way to vote for questions to be asked, and a limited number of seats are available to attend the event.

“This debate is a way to start a dialogue on the health and well-being of our children,” said Alan. L. Goldbloom, M.D., president and CEO of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “No matter which candidate wins in November, our leaders need to bring children’s issues front and center to ensure a healthy future for our children and our state.”

Duane Benson, executive director of the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation, also stresses the forum’s importance.

“Half of kids aren’t prepared for kindergarten and too many never catch up. When they don’t catch up and drop out of school, they cost taxpayers a bundle and deprive Minnesota of the highly skilled workers we need to compete globally,” Benson said. “Our current pre-K achievement gap constitutes a human, economic and fiscal crisis in the making, and we need to hear how our next governor is going to address the crisis.”

The forum will be live-streamed both on MinnPost.com and on the forum website.

Here are the basics, drawn from the website:

When:  Monday, Oct. 11, from noon to 1 p.m. Registration begins at 11 a.m. with a light lunch from 11:15 to 11:45.

Where:  Minnesota Children’s Museum, 10 W. 7th St., St. Paul. Register to attend the event by sending an email to brian [dot] lucas [at] childrensmn.org. Please include your name, title and organization affiliation in the email. Space is limited, so RSVP soon.

Why: This forum will help ensure that the needs and issues facing Minnesota children are addressed during this election cycle.

Who: Minnesota’s three major-party candidates will field questions from a panel of representatives from Children’s, MELF and a Twin Cities high-school student, who is a Children’s Hospitals and Clinics Youth Advisory Council member and a former patient.

How to participate:

  • Help select questions you would like the candidates to answer during the event by voting now.
  • Send your questions and comments by texting MNFORUM and your question to 27138.
  • Follow the conversation of journalists, bloggers, attendees and the general public via Twitter.com. Use the hashtag #MNGov before the debate and #MNDebate on Oct. 11.
  • Watch the live-stream at noon Oct. 11 on MinnPost.com or on the forum website

Susan Albright is co-managing editor of MinnPost.com.

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