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Philadelphia Mayoral Hopefuls Face 4th and 5th Grade Questioners at Candidates' Forum

By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A foundation set up by former mayor Ed Rendell and his wife, federal judge Marjorie Rendell, to encourage civic engagement today hosted another forum for Democratic candidates for Philadelphia mayor.

But this one provided a twist:  the questions came from some special, if young, VIPs.

The educational forum, at Philadelphia school district headquarters, hosted by the Rendell Civics and Civic Engagement Center, included fourth- and fifth-grade public school students asking the tough questions, such as, "Why did you want to become mayor?"

Eleven-year-old Chastity thinks it was a great opportunity for the students and the candidates to meet each other.

"I think they want to become mayor just to help our education," she said afterward, "just to help us learn more, and help us get more supplies."

Ten-year-old Nashir was hopeful and knows what he is looking for in a candidate.

"I think they are really going to change our school: more electronics for our schoolwork, books I can read, and more computers," he said.

Most of the questions asked by students focused on education, but a few swayed to current events issues. Doug Oliver turned the table on the kids, and asked how they felt about police. Very few of them raised their hands.

After the forum, they had a little bit more to say.

"Some of us think police are not our friends. Some of the police out here are using violence, they're doing violence, when they're doing their duty."

"Some police officers is good, and some are bad."

"They're helpful, they help our community."

"I think what is mostly important here is the violence. Police need to be taking care of the violence instead of making it worse."

Milton Street was the only one of the six Democratic candidates not in attendance.  The primary election is May 19th.


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