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Sen. Campfield confronted by children against welfare bill

1:19 PM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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An 8-year-old girl confronted state Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, in the hallways of the state legislature Thursday morning, telling him she's worried about Tennessee children.

The young girl handed him a petition signed by about 2,500 people against his welfare bill.

It was part of a demonstration against Campfield's SB132, which would pull a percentage of welfare benefits from families where children fail a grade. Parents could get the money back by proving they attended two parent-teacher conferences, enrolled in parenting classes, or enrolled their children in tutoring or summer school.

After 40 minutes of debate Thursday, Campfield pulled the bill for summer study.

"How are you? Thanks for coming," Campfield told the girl earlier Thursday morning. "I love it when people use children as props."

She is Aamira Fetuga, and her mother is Rasheedat Fetuga, founder of Gideon's Army child advocacy group, who jogged after Campfield as he hurried toward the Senate floor for a vote on his bill. It's expected later this morning. It would still need to clear House committees before it goes to that floor.

Rasheedat Fetuga shouted after Campfield that her daughter was not a prop and that he works for the people. Her daughter was enumerating her worries, but couldn't be heard over the crowd.

"That won't happen as long as you have a decent parent who can show up for two conferences," Campfield said.

Greeting them along the way were "Stacey Campfield's Walk of Shame" signs, then a group of about 40 children and adults singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" outside the Senate chamber.

"It makes me mad because he's taking children's benefits," Aamira said.

"People won't have their light bills paid."

The groups Clergy for Justice, Stand for Children and Gideon's Army organized the event.

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