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NH Republican calls kindergarten criminal

OK, full disclosure: I went to kindergarten. We had "show and tell," snack time, reading time, and learned basic math too. Some things I never learned in kindergarten: how to hold up a liquor store, where to buy a gun, how to shoplift, and other illegal activities that would land me in front of a judge.

A Republican state representative from New Hampshire has voiced some unique kindergarten-based fears. State Rep. Bob Kingsbury told a Belknap County Convention meeting on Monday night that kindergarten programs leads to higher crime rates.

Kingsbury addressed the county convention Monday night during a discussion about building a new county jail in Laconia, New Hampshire, and why the inmate population in the state was rising. According to the Laconia Daily Sun, Kingsbury then revealed he had been working on a theory since 1996: he discovered that communities offering kindergarten had high crime rates, as opposed to surrounding towns without public kindergarten options.

"We're taking children away from their mothers too soon," Kingsbury told the crowd.

The Laconia Daily Sun also reports that Kingsbury has written to state representatives about his research before, but his efforts to ban mandated public kindergarten failed.

Kingsbury apparently has a history of supporting strange issues. Earlier this year, he sponsored a bill to link the New Hampshire legislation to the Magna Carta. The bill was shot down after a 11-1 House committee vote. And according to the Huffington Post, Kingsbury partnered with two allies of famed birther Orly Taitz to push a bill partially ending the direct election of U.S. senators.

The Huffington Post also notes that these comments are now campaign fodder in New Hampshire's gubernatorial race. Both Democrats have not only endorsed kindergarten, but are also questioning why the Republican in the race, frontrunner Ovide Lamontagne, hasn't distanced himself. Here's what he had to say:

"Well, everybody is entitled to their opinion," he said. "This is America, after all. And what we need to be doing from the point of view of government and government leadership is enabling people to make decisions at the local level and their families, and so forth for the best services available to their children, whether educational services, health care, and so forth, and that is what I am going to be looking at, and certainly as governor of the state of New Hampshire I am going to stand with New Hampshire families across the board."

No, none of that is special code for "saying that kindergarten leads to higher crime rates is ridiculous, and I do not support that idea whatsoever." Everyone is entitled to have an opinion, as Lamontagne said. If he ends up having one on this issue, we'll be sure to update you. In the meantime, check out Melissa's June 3 discussion about the real consequences of cutting school programs, such as after-school programs. (And, perhaps, kindergarten.)