RICHMOND, Mo. -- With less than a week to election day the race for Missouri Senate remains important on the national scene and it is heating up. Candidate Rep. Todd Akin held events and rallies with former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich yesterday and this morning. But some educators, who are Senator Claire McCaskill supporters, also took the opportunity to raise concerns about Akin's voting record on one particular issue: why Akin was one of five congressmen to vote against the Free and Reduced School Lunch Program in 2010.
Nationally the school lunch program costs more than $11 billion, but it's had bi-partisan support for years.
"This is bipartisan," says Joseph Jackson, Kansas City, Mo., school board member. "It transcends both sides of the house and senate."
"I think childhood hunger effects suburban schools, urban schools, and rural schools," says Audrey Payne, a retired teacher.
The two retired teachers at the news conference Wednesday say they know kids would go hungry without this program. In Missouri alone 400,000 low-income kids get free or reduced lunch.
"There is nothing worse than looking in your classroom and knowing there's a child sitting in that seat who is hungry," says Debbie Twyman, retired teacher
We wanted Akin to explain why he thinks the school lunch program should be eliminated and we asked to speak with him at a campaign stop in Richmond. We showed up there because we were told by his campaign that he would speak to us. But instead, he avoided our cameras, a campaign staffer said, "No additional questions today, I'm sorry."
Akin has said on the record that he voted against the school lunch program because he doesn't think providing food to school kids is something the Federal Government should be involved in.
McCaskill herself has been absent from the campaign trail because of the death of her mother, but she said just last week that it's only right for the Federal Government to have a role in making sure its children are properly fed, so they can be prepared to learn and succeed in school.