This post has been updated.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), a primary candidate in the 2014 Georgia Senate race, on Saturday suggested poor students sweep floors in order to get a free lunch, according to the Huffington Post.
Kingston opposes the federal school lunch program, which subsidizes meals for kids from low-income families, but he said that if schools do provide meals, students should learn that nothing is free.
“But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria — and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money,” he said at a Jackson County Republican Party meeting. “But think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the representative was “trying to have a productive conversation” about work ethic.
“It is sad that trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans so quickly devolves into the usual name calling partisan hysteria,” Crawford wrote in an email to the Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “Having worked from a young age himself, Congressman Kingston understands the value of hard work and the important role it plays in shaping young people.”