published Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Georgia U.S. Rep. Kingston defends janitorial work for school lunch idea

In this March 20, 2010, file photo, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., speaks to people demonstrating against the health care bill on the U.S. Capitol steps in Washington.
In this March 20, 2010, file photo, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., speaks to people demonstrating against the health care bill on the U.S. Capitol steps in Washington.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston is defending comments he made 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. The Huffington Post reported that Kingston told the crowd making children do janitorial work would help them learn that there's "no such thing as a free lunch."

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.

Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford said in a statement to WXIA-TV that it's sad that trying to have a "productive conversation" about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation "so quickly devolves into the usual name calling partisan hysteria."

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