I am delighted to present the first response from the presidential candidates on sex education. This is the first in a series of responses from (I hope) all of the presidential hopefuls. I will soon have a page on my website that will include all of the responses gathered in one place. In the mean time, I encourage each of you to contact the presidential candidates to ask questions. I feel that I have learned a lot about the individual candidates through contacting (attempting to contact!) their campaigns. I have come away from some of the campaigns feeling that no one really cared if I was interested or not, while others have been incredibly warm and happy to help and answer my questions. You might say that who answers the phone maybe isn’t a good sign of what a person would be like as a president – but I have to say that, as a voter, if the candidate can’t even figure out how to get their staff to be open and friendly, I’m not sure they should hold an executive post.

So with no further adieu, here is former Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK 1969-81)’s wife, Whitney Gravel, who e-mailed me the following responses to my two questions.

1. What do you believe should be the goal of sex education?

To provide comprehensive information and encourage communication about all aspects of sexuality so that young people know how to find answers to questions and are prepared to make responsible decisions that also protect them from unwanted pregnancies and STDs.

2. How do you believe that goal can be best accomplished?

By providing age-appropriate information in the home, in schools, and in other settings, e.g. as part of religious education, that promotes self-respect, tolerance of others, discussion of healthy relationships and ways to stand up to peer pressure, and communication with parents or other trusted adults.