US Rep. Kingston criticized for school lunch idea

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ATLANTA - U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston is coming under criticism for comments suggesting that poor students who are part of the nation's school lunch program should sweep cafeteria floors.

Kingston made the comments at a meeting of Jackson County Republicans on Saturday.

"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. 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," he said.

The Savannah Republican is campaigning to become his party's nominee for the U.S. Senate seat of Saxby Chambliss, who has announced his retirement.

In response to the national outrage, Kingston’s spokesman Chris Crawford said, "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. 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."

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