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Sep 5, 2015 2:57 PM

Panel on kids issues to meet with presidential candidates

The Associated Press

CONCORD — Presidential hopefuls have begun meeting with a bipartisan group in New Hampshire that is focusing on children's issues.

Republican George Pataki and Democrat Martin O'Malley recently met with Our Kids New Hampshire, and similar briefings are being scheduled with other candidates.

The group of civic and community leaders was inspired by Robert D. Putnam's 2015 book "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis." Among other issues, the group is interested in what's considered a growing "opportunity gap" that is preventing many children from success.

Committee member Lauren Collins of Bedford, a Republican and spokeswoman for Eversource, said that as a mother with young children, she is committed to working for equal opportunities for all children.

"Here in the first-in-the-nation primary state, we have a unique opportunity to connect with those running for president, and OKNH will meet with as many candidates willing to have this important conversation," she said.

Committee co-chair Lewis Feldstein, a Democrat, said community leaders must embrace challenges "as invitations to act."

"The opportunity gap paints a dismal picture for our country and our state," said Feldstein, who also is a former president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. "We cannot thrive as a society if one-third of our children are denied the support and level playing field that has benefited generations."

Republican Steve Duprey also co-chairs the group.


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